15 years ago, Indonesia was undergoing a heavy political duress and monetary crisis. Student movements throughout the nation sparks the beginning of reformation. The climatic event of the era was marked by Soeharto, who were elected for 8 times in a row, who ruled our country for 32 years, stepped down from his presidential post. It was symbolizing the end of the new order regime and the start of reformation for the betterment for the people’s welfare. Tino Saroengallo who directed a documentary about the student movement of the era, brought us another documentary that challange it’s viewer, after 15 years of reformation, have we really changed for the better?
I was in my early teen at the time of reformation, i did not remember much of the time, but i lived in a satellite city near Jakarta, and i remember people was vigilant, but there were never any riots like what i often saw on TV at the time. Reformation suppose to mark the beginning of the new era for a lot of people, but as i grew up i think things grew progressively, absurdly worse. At the time of reformation you know which government officials were corrupt but common people did not have the freedom of speech back then. Reformation is like a beheaded worm, did you know that the severed body can still retain life and old memories and thus regenerating a new head with their memories intact? I think post-reformation was still like that, we forced the icon to step down, but the people behind him still control the government, deeply rooted in every possible aspect of our nation. If in the new order regime people was sheltered from information, now after the so-called freedom of speech the nation were exposed to informations of the rot in our own government, and for the most of people, these somewhat unfiltered informations inspired a lot of distrust to our government and nation, as well as creating a moral degradation as the after effect.
In the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia, section XIV of National economy and social welfare: article 33, (3) “The land and the waters as well as the natural riches therein are to be controlled by the state to be exploited to the greatest benefit of the people”, (4) “The organization of the national economy shall be based on economic democracy that upholds the principles of solidarity, efficiency along with fairness, sustainability, keeping the environment in perspective, self-sufficiency, and that is concerned as well with balanced progress and with the unity of the national economy”, as well as article 34 (3) “The state develops a social security system for everybody and empowers the weak and underprivileged in society in accordance with their dignity as human beings”. These are the promises that government and nation offers to general public yet has not manage to deliver, instead more corrupt officials manage to exploit the resources of our countries, something that should’ve been nurtured to last and inherited to the next generations, like Faisal Basri aptly pointed out in the documentary. With so many heartbreaks and growing distrust towards the government, can the new generations be blamed for our distrust and ignorant morality towards our own nation? But let’s not talk too much about politic, i found myself grew more frustrated, but i tell you this.. i love my country and i am not ashamed of my origin, but i too have become very cynical about the government and i am pessimistic. I wonder; if, within 200+ million people in Indonesia, there is even 1 leader that can inspire trust and changes for the better of our nation. If there were? maybe that person idealism and good-will has been corrupted and swallowed by the rotting morale around him.
Let’s go back to the documentary. Narrated by Tora Sudiro, the 90 minute documentary manage to remind us what has transcend in Indonesia in the last 15 years. Footages of riots and demonstrations from the 1997/1998 era were used interspersed with various footages of recent events and random newspapers/media headlines. Politicians, artists, lecturers, coming from different background as well as those who were active during the 1998 upheaval gave their thoughts and opinion. But i think that was the major drawback of the documentary itself. For documentary about an issue about a subject, usually there are a lot of facts to support the argument and opinion that the filmmaker want to emphasis. Only several interviewee stood out by delivering a sound reasoning in their talk. Faisal Basri stood out the most simply because he manage to deliver his thoughts in well-structured, valid outlook in a very neutral demeanor. As i understand, some of these interviews were conducted in different cities of indonesia and utilizing different teams and cameras. But i wish there were a more standardized shots and framing, because seeing the subjects in extreme up-close focus (sometimes before the camera awkwardly zoom out or lost its focus) made me feel uncomfortable and borderline on annoying. I really wish the filmmaker would choose another narrator, because Tora Sudiro’s ‘charm’ does not do any favor to this documentary, his articulation and enunciation did not add anything to it, instead i found his appearances progressively grating on my nerves.
I missed the original run of this documentary because it did not screened in Bandung theater due to its very limited (and short release). I was fortunate Q!FF manage to screen it yesterday, with the director himself is in attendance and we had a short Q and A session, When asked about his objectives in making the film, he simply answered it was to remind the generations of what happened 15 years ago and what it had accomplished. Some of the former students who were involved in the movement expressed their thoughts and acknowledge their failure as well, which is something refreshing and something we only hope our nation leaders can adopt these attitude. There were still glimmers of hope, where young people with a fresh mission joining the political and governmental leadership posts that hopefully can brought the much needed change and probably reshape the morality of our nation (perhaps, mine included).
SETELAH 15 TAHUN…/AFTER 15 YEARS… (2013)
DIRECTOR Tino Saroengallo | WRITER Tino Saroengallo | STUDIO Bumi Kreasi Film | DISTRIBUTOR Jakarta Media Syndication | COUNTRY Indonesia | RELEASE DATE August 17, 2013 | RUNNING TIME 93 Minutes
STARRING Tora Soediro