“Moon Split on America’s Sky”, A Relevant Film Answering Terrorism

bulan terbelah di langit amerika NPOSTER


ACTS of terrorism are always associated with Islam, and have recently occurred in Paris, France, it seems relevant to the issues raised in the film Bulan Terbelah di Langit Amerika (Moon Split  on American’s Sky) which is released in mid-December. As reported by various media, the attackers in Paris were the ‘radical jihadists’ who sought to spread terror in the name of Islam.


The film which is adapted from the novel with  the same title by Hanum Rais  and   Rangga Almahendra  tells of terror 9 November 2001 that occurred in the twin towers of the World Trade Center, New York. According Hanum, Bulan Terbelah di Langit Amerika raises about the name of Islam which was hijacked, and since the 2001 tragedy occurred evenly Islamophobia are spread in the Western world.

“Islamophobia gradually reduced, then it nurtured again because of act which  is always to discredit Islam, such as the recent event in Paris. This film will answer about whether Islam like that? Certainly not with words, but by braiding of the story, adapted from a lot of stories about 9/11 from the families of the  WTC victims, and the other angles, “said Hanum in a media release  to Republika.co.id, Tuesday (17/11/15).


From the novel story,  Hanum and Rangga wrote about half of the seconds of the plane that crashed into the WTC twin towers in 2001 from the perspective of someone who witnessed it. This book tells about the dilemma of a Muslim journalist named Hanum, who was asked to write an article entitled ‘Would the World Be A Better Place without Islam? ‘ by a news agency published in the West.


Tue, 17 November 2015




Muslim figure appeals for screening of the film on the betrayal of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI)



MUSLIM figure K.H. Cholil Ridwan has put forth a request to screen a film depicting the failed coup attempt by the Communist Party (PKI) in 1965 by national television stations every year on September 30.

KH Kholil Ridwan

         KH Kholil Ridwan

G30S/PKI film must always be broadcast by national television stations in the country in the years to come,” he stated at the commemoration of the G30S/PKI treason at Lubang Buaya in East Jakarta on Thursday.
He affirmed that the government must encourage the screening of the film to remind the younger generation about the cruelties inflicted by the PKI.

Cholil, who is also one of the board members of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, said he had also appealed to include the stories about PKI’s cruelties in the school curriculum, starting from the elementary level.

He noted that the stories had so far been excluded from the books used in elementary and junior high schools.

“We must denounce the emergence of armed farmers, which are the fifth generation of the PKI. The symbol of armed farmers must be rejected,” he stated.

President Joko Widodo led the commemoration of Pancasila Sanctity Day, which falls on October 1, at the Lubang Buaya Pancasila Sanctity complex in East Jakarta on Thursday morning.

The Pancasila Sanctity Day commemoration is held annually to honor the sanctity of the state ideology against the revolt of the PKI on September 30, 1965, marked among other events, by the kidnapping of the seven army generals including General Ahmad Yani, Major General Sutoyo, Lieutenant General M.T. Haryono, Major General D.E. Pandjaitan, and Lieutenant General S. Parman.

The aforementioned high commissioned officers were killed and their bodies dumped into the well-known Lubang Buaya pit on which the Pancasila Sakti Monument now stands.

On the following day, October 1, 1965, the National Armed Forces (TNI) succeeded in crushing the PKI revolt and recovered the bodies of the generals.


Thu, October 2, 2015


“Oeroeg”, The best movie of Indonesia Independence War




THERE were some movies which took Indonesia Independence War (1945-1949) as their setting. Most of them fell into two categories, propaganda and rubbish. Only few movies which were really good, such as Nagabonar and Soerabaja’45, although the latter sometimes fell into propaganda. Oeroeg was the best movie which took the era as it sets and ironically made by Netherland, which were Indonesia’s enemy.
oeroeg_childhoodWhen the other movies only talk about the war, this movie took a deeper approaching. It pulled us to understand the reason behind the war. Why the Indonesian refused to be controlled by the Dutch. It showed the discrimination experienced by Indonesian as third class citizen in the Dutch rule.

Oeroeg_sceneThe movie also showed a empathized-to-Indonesia-movement Dutch teacher which help Indonesia fighter degrading the fighting spirit of Dutch soldiers. It was more realistic role for foreigner in Indonesia at the time instead the irrational role which sometimes appeared in this genre (such as a dutch soldier in Indonesia line in “Singa Karawang” which was impossible due to high risk of being falsely recognized as enemy by the Indonesia people itself).

oeroeg-last sceneThe dialog was also interesting. In the last scene, Johan, as the main character ask Oeroeg whether they have already in the same degree. Oeroeg’s cynical reply is still relevant today. When the developed countries often call the other countries as the Third world, isn’t it another form of humiliation in modern world?

Hella S. Haasse

Hella S. Haasse




Director Ridley Scott gets biblical in his epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings” retelling of Moses leading his people to ‘the promised land’

exodusPeter Travers

BANISH all memories of a hambone, harrumphing Old Testament Charlton Heston as Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, the 1956 campfest that TV shoves at us during religious holidays. DeMille’s once-thrilling parting of the Red Sea plays today like CG primitivism.

Ridley Scott directing Sigourney Weaver in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'.

Ridley Scott directing Sigourney Weaver in’Exodus: Gods and Kings’.

Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) is determined not to make his Exodus: Gods and Kings old-hat. But he’s after way more than FX pow – although wait until you see that Red Sea heave in 3D and the damage done by those 10 deadly plagues, from crocodiles, frogs and locusts to the death of every first-born in Egypt.

Shooting on location, mostly in Spain, with thousands of non-digital extras, the ferociously cinematic Scott aims to keep things real and raw. He gets that and more from Christian Bale, in rousing form, as a hot-blooded warrior Moses ready to question all comers, including the gods and kings of the title. After learning of his Hebrew identity, Moses rises up against a childhood pal, the pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), and builds the mettle he needs to lead 600,000 Israelite slaves out of Egypt.

excodus1Like Darren Aronofsky in Noah, Scott, who crafted the script with four other writers, departs from Scripture enough to raise hackles. For example, this Moses sees God in the person of an insolent schoolboy (Isaac Andrews), who takes guff from Moses for waiting 400 years to get around to freeing the slaves. In the large cast, including Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley and John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver stands out as the mother of Ramses. “I don’t want Moses exiled,” she snaps. “I want him dead.” You get the picture. Exodus is a biblical epic that comes at you at maximum velocity but stays stirringly, inspiringly human.

From The Archives Issue 1224: December 18, 2014


Rolling Stones
December 11, 2014

Christian Bale as Moses in ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.'  Photo; 20th Century Fox

Christian Bale as Moses in ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’ Photo; 20th Century Fox


“Assalamualaikum, Beijing!”, A new Indonesian movie with scenes of Chinese icons

beijin temat
‘Assalamualaikum, Beijing!’, is another film by Guntur Soeharjanto after ’99 Cahaya di Langit Eropa’.

The film is, produced by Maxima Pictures, based on the best seller novel with the similar title written by productive and popular young Muslimah author Asma Nadia.


Assalamualaikum Beijing! is about a woman named Ra/Asma (Revalina S Temat) who betrayed her lover, Dewa (Ibn Jamil), a month before the wedding. Dewa chooses to marry Anita but only until their baby is born. He plans to divorce for the sake of returning to Ra.

On the other hand, Asma meets Chinese youth named Zhongwen (Morgan Oey) while covering in Beijing. Zhongwen depicted as a young man with a firm jaw and intelligent eyes that glow softly. Beads of love grew between them.

Assalamualaikum Beijing tells a love story that is not cliché, Insha Allah. Also how a convert to proceed,” Asma Nadia, the novelist said.

Starred by Revalina S Temat, Morgan Oey, Ibnu Jamil and Lidya Cynthia Bella, it would be released on 30 December 2014.

Some scenes of the film were taken at the Chinese popular tourist sites like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City in Beijing and Ashima sclupture in Yunnan.

beijing postr

See its trailer:

beijing book



Fifteen Years of ‘Sinetron Religi’: The religious influence of prime-time television in Indonesia

Inaya Rakhmani

A MEDIUM that penetrates over 90 per cent of the total population, broadcast television remains a strong influence over how the majority middle class in urban areas spend their money and spare time. Melodrama, widely known in Indonesia as ‘sinetron’, has a privileged position in prime time television – where the highest number of viewers tune in. In the 1990s, sinetron predominantly used to show the dream of luxury living and the lifestyles of the upper-middle class, influenced by Bollywood television drama. However, in the past 15 years, Indonesians across the country have followed the popular rise of Islamic sinetron, locally known as sinetron religi, which offer upper to lower class Muslims religious guidance in dealing with life’s trials and tribulations.

The days of early television commercialisation allowed only ‘safe’ portrayals of religion, in line with New Order’s SARA safeguards (avoiding the sensitive topics of Ethnicity, Religion, Race and Intergroup relations). Producers then introduced portrayals of Islamic imagery, such as prayer scenes and rituals, into the sinetron scripts in the late 1990s, just as the influence of political Islam was rising in wider urban society. The term sinetron religi became popular in the early 2000s with the unexpected success of the low-brow sinetron Rahasia Ilahi (God’s Secret), which showed Muslims who had deviated from the righteous path being punished by inexplicable supernatural events. Its low production cost and high-ratings then inspired a rash of sinetron religi eager to replicate its success.

Such a phenomenon did not go unnoticed and there were mixed responses towards the emerging trend. On the one hand, intellectuals, most notably film critic Eric Sasono, criticised television stations for cashing in on increasing Islamic piety, and that sinetron religi trivialised Islamic values and misled Muslim audiences. On the other hand, when the film Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love; Bramantyo) gained popularity in 2008, also generating a raft of similar melodramas on television, Din Syamsuddin, then head of one of the largest Muslim organisations, Muhammadiyah, praised it for providing an alternative portrayal of a peaceful Islam amidst the prevailing association of Islam and violence.

There is one sinetron religi that stands out among these replications. Citra Sinema, a production house owned by a former chairman of the National Film Council, Deddy Mizwar, explicitly uses sinetron as a means of da’wah – or Islamic mission. Its writers consult with fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) experts to verify adherence to scholarly Qur’anic interpretation. Significantly, eight years on, its sinetron religi still hit highest ratings during the month of Ramadan, and since 2010 has also triggered the trend of comedic sinetron religi that are shown throughout the year.

Sinetron religi broadcast on broadcast television must achieve high ratings and be able to attract advertising. Accordingly, producers need to be sensitive to the values their Muslim viewers wish to preserve. Producers have learned to take their cue from the protests received by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI). In the past ten years, for instance, KPI has limited and banned certain portrayals of mysticism, horror and the supernatural in order to protect young viewers, effectively reducing the production of supernatural dramas. In 2008, the Islamic melodrama Hareem was censured for its portrayal of polygamy as a means to justify men’s sexual pleasures. In 2013, KPI received protests regarding the depiction of Islamic teachers in the religious comedy Islam KTP (Superficial Muslims) who ideally should be portrayed as knowledgeable and not erroneous.

These developments reveal that there is a link between the commodification of Islam with the utilisation of television as a tool for da’wah. Both have intermingled and blended in a combined effort between producers, audiences and the regulatory body that has perpetuated the trend. Producers continue to create commercially successful programmes, viewers take pleasure from shows that do not contradict their values, and KPI guarantees that television content corresponds with their normative perception of the public’s needs.

What has been established in the past decade raises an important question: What kind of ‘Islam’ is being shown on Indonesian television today?

In an attempt to gain as broad a Muslim audience as possible, and at the same time avoid protests from heterogeneous Muslim Indonesians, sinetron religi do not have a single dominant narrative. It furthermore blurs the division between ‘traditionalist’, ‘modernist’, ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ interpretations of Islamic doctrines as reflected in how Indonesian Muslims organise themselves politically.

These portrayals take on a life of their own, for they are supported by advertisers rather than coming from a particular Muslim organisation. Consequently, what we have been viewing on Indonesian television is not a reflection of the debates or the development of Islamic thinking among mainstream Indonesian society, but a construct that has emerged out of a symbiosis between commercialisation and da’wah.

Inaya Rakhmani (inaya.rakhmani@gmail.com, inaya.r@ui.ac.id) is the head of the Communication Research Centre, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Indonesia and an associate at the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Australia. Part of this article is published in Jurnal Sosiologi Masyarakat, Universitas Indonesia.

Inside Indonesia 118: Oct-Dec 2014



108 Media Takes Worldwide Sales Rights to Bruneian Action Movie ‘Yasmine’

bru film yasmine

Siti Kamaluddin’s martial arts pic is the Muslim-majority sultanate’s first commercial movie set for a North American release.

Etan Vlessing

CANADIAN indie distributor 108 Media has picked up the worldwide sales rights to Brunei’s first commercial movie.

Yasmine, a coming-of-age martial arts film by the Muslim-majority sultanate’s first female director, Siti Kamaluddin, is to have its North American premiere on Friday at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.

Ahead of that Canadian screening, 108 Media acquired the sales rights to the Liyana Yus-starrer about Yasmine, a young woman who lives alone with her strict father and wants to be a champion at Silat, Brunei’s version of kung fu.

The Canadian distributor plans a North American release for Yasmine, which bowed at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival and won the award for best Asian film.

Kamaluddin’s debut feature includes stunt work choreographed by Chan Man Ching, who worked with Jackie Chan on Supercop and Drunken Master 2.

The deal for the Malay-language answer to The Karate Kid was hammered out by Jordan Nutson for 108 Media and Din Kamaluddin for Origin Films.

The Hollywood Reporter
Thu, 24 july 2014

bru film yasmine1