Our Asian Neighbours - Indonesia


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1975, Total Running Time 189 Minutes

Our Asian Neighbours is a series of films that aims to convey everyday life in Asia and to promote greater understanding of often complex societies. This series is devoted to Indonesia and brings to life its people and their culture. Each program captures the lifestyle of a different individual in their own environment and from their own perspective.

In this series Our Asian Neighbours - Indonesia:

Angklung Orchestra, An (6 Minutes) An angklung is a Sundanese bamboo instrument which is rattled to produce a fixed note.  Originally tuned to the pentatonic scale, it was used in traditional music. However, today it is usually tuned to the diatonic scale and Western style music is performed.  In this program the Bandung Conservatoire Orchestra demonstrates the complexity of the instrument and plays a well-known waltz.

Azhari Ali - An Acehnese University Student (22 Minutes) Set in the city of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, this film traces the daily life of Azhari Ali, a student of agriculture at the University of Syliah Kuala. He is a devout Muslim. His lodgings and some money are provided by the Mosque authorities. This money provides his travel to the university, some extra money is gained by teaching the Koran five nights a week. Only late at night can this ambitious twenty-five-year-old find time to study away from his daily commitments.

Balinese Gong Orchestra, A (11 mins) A simple, explanatory film on the well-known gamelan gong, featuring the Tunjuk Orchestra.  Each instrument is explained and demonstrated, then the orchestra plays a piece from the Ramayana Ballet Suite, which is based on traditional tunes.

Bupati of Subang, The - A Government Official (23 Minutes) The Bupati is the government’s chief civilian administrator in the West Javanese Kabupaten of Subang. His decisions affect the lives of a million people. Assisted by his military background, the Bupati - directly responsible to the Governor of West Java -  administers his many responsibilities, keeping peace and harmony in the villages.

Hasans, The - A Buginese Trading Family (23 Minutes) The Bugis were once the feared pirates of the Java Sea. Today they run trading junks (perahu) between the islands of Indonesia. This film is about the Hasan family who run a fleet of boats from the West Java port of Surabaya.

Marvel - A Jakarta Boy (17 Minutes) Marvel is a fourteen-year-old boy from a migrant Minangkabau family who are seeking a new way of life in the busy city of Jakarta. Marvel’s father is a middle man in a small “pasar”. Marvel himself sells rice cakes to the taxi drivers outside the tourist hotels. This is a day in his life.

Mastri - A Balinese Woman (18 Minutes) Mastri and Sukit are a young couple from the village of Tunjuk in South Bali. Sukit is a school teacher. They live in the house of Sukit’s parents and are saving to build a house of their own. Tunjuk has its own small dance company and Gong orchestra, which is sometimes invited to perform at the tourist hotels around Denpasar.  Mastri is one of the principal dancers. The program contrasts normal village life with the “tourist” Bali and shows something of the religious life of the people of Tunjuk.

Pak Menggung - A Javanese Aristocrat (19 Minutes) With the exception of Jogjakarta, Java is no longer ruled by kings and queens. The aristocrats who remain live in their palaces, but they are mostly poor. When they die so will many of their traditions. This passing in history is recorded by following the daily life of Pak Menggung, writer and collector of ancient “Keris”. This film gives insight into the courtly traditions of art, etiquette and ceremony in Java.

Sinaga’s Family - A Batak Village (18 Minutes) This program is set in a small fishing village on the edge of Lake Toba inhabited by fifteen Christian families. Sinaga, head of one of these families, fishes for his living as well as being a rice farmer.  He is enterprising, adventurous and ambitious to find a better life. This film shows the daily life of Sinaga’s family: fishing, preparing the rice field for planting, weaving, the school and the weekly market.

Taram - A Minangkabau Village (22 Minutes) A look at life in the Indonesian village of Taram, Sumatra, where clan inheritance is passed from mother to daughter. It is a matrilineal society, where the husband is considered a guest in the wife’s homes. This film centres around a man of high rank in the village, Datuk Panjang. It shows the daily occupations of the villagers, and a ceremony in which the hereditary clan leaders are raised to the position of Datuk.

© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Directors: Brian Hannant, Keith Gow

Year: 1975

Total Running Time: 189 Minutes (10 x Episodes)

Classification: Exempt from classification

Curriculum Links: Asian Studies; Cultural Studies; HSIE/SOSE - Traditions, Belief Systems & Practices; Studies of Religion; Performance Studies; Politics; Puppetry; International Studies; English.


Human Face of Indonesia, The

SKU 002602500
Brand Film Australia

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