Price: $350.00

    Code: 2413

    Directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich
    2011, 111 Minutes
    Purchase: $350 | Classroom Rental: $125

    Thirteen years ago, Dutch filmmaker Retel Helmrich decided to visit Indonesia, the birthplace of his Dutch father and Indonesian mother, looking for inspiration. The trip ignited his fascination with the country and he started filming the Sjamsuddin family living in a Jakarta slum. He followed them as the country shook off the rule of President Suharto ( The Eye of the Day ), experienced a rise of Islamic power ( Shape of the Moon ) and eventually nascent democracy, corruption and a widening income gap (Position Among the Stars).

    At the start of Position Among the Stars, grandmother Rumidjah, openly Christian, has left the bustle of Jakarta to live in the countryside. But when her adolescent, smart granddaughter, Tari, turns out to be too much for her son Bakti to handle, Bakti asks his mother to return to the city's slums to provide the girl with a sense of values and purpose in life.

    Tari is growing up in a time of increasing openness. The people around her are allowed, and even expected, to express their opinion about everything. Older people, accustomed to a more repressive society, are unfamiliar with democratic principles. Indonesia is experiencing the growing pains of a Western-style generation gap, a new phenomenon in the Muslim country.

    The entire family sees in the intelligent Tari a chance to raise their status and escape the slums of Jakarta. Especially Bakti has high hopes for her since she is like a daughter to him. His job as neighborhood watchman doesn't pay well, so he tries to earn some extra money by breeding fighting fish for gambling purposes.

    Rumidjah is pressuring Tari to finish school with honors and be the first in their family to go to university. However Tari wants what all teenagers do - a mobile phone, fun with friends. Meanwhile Bakti and his wife are not getting along very well. She becomes increasingly exasperated by his laid-back ways, his collection of fighting fish and lack of attention to her.

    Although her family works themselves to the bone to contribute to the tuition fee of her university, Tari prefers to spend her time and money with her friends in the nightlife of Jakarta.

    This modest and simple family seems at ease with Leonard Retel Helmrich's presence, who records their everyday real life situations with impressive detail, using his proprietary Single Shot Cinema method to bring moments of charm and compassion into their family tale.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Opening Film, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
    * Winner, Grand Jury Award, , International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
    * Winner, Special Jury Award, Sundance Film Festival
    * Nominee, International Documentary Association Humanitas Award
    * Winner, Grand Jury Award, Zagrebdox
    * Winner, Special Jury Award, Sarasota Film Festival
    * Winner, Special Jury Mention, Silverdocs
    * Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Alba Film Festival
    * Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Durban Film Festival
    * Four Nominations, Cinema Eye Honors, Best Film, Best Director, Best Camera and Best Editing


    “Engrossing, poetic and often very funny, Position Among the Stars, like its predecessors, uses the lens of a single family to view the tumult of an entire country.” - The New York Times

    Recommended."A cinematographic journey capturing the struggles of life a present-day globalized Indonesia as seen through the eyes of the Sjamsuddin family ". - Educational Media Reviews Database

    "A wonderful piece of work. Helmrich's approach to the camera is highly creative... A realistic depiction of the changing tides of Indonesian life as it is felt by many of its citizen today". - Anthropology Review Database