Chitra Paramaesti, Jakarta – The director of the film Memories of My Body (Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku), Garin Nugroho, has spoken out about an on-line petition rejecting his film which is currently being shown on the big screen.
The film, which has been screened at scores of international film festivals and won numerous international awards, is being accused of presenting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) ideas.
“For me, mass anarchy without dialogue will kill off critical thinking and the quality of the nation’s people”, said Nugroho in a written release issued by Four Colours Film on Thursday April 25.
According to Nugroho, the on-line petition represents a mass judgment of an artistic work though social media without allowing space for dialogue, something he deeply regrets.
He is also concerned that this judgment though social media is unjust. “For me I want justice and want to live together in diversity without discrimination and violence, nothing will ever kill or censor [artistic works]”, he said.
The petition which was created on change.org three days ago, said Nugroho, allows no opportunity for discussion over his artistic work and is a mass judgment without justice which gives birth to mass anarchy.
The film Memories of My Body, which had only just begun screening in cinemas on April 18, was inspired by a story of a Javanese male dancer from Banyumas, Rianto.
Only one week after appearing on the big screen, the petition opposing the film spread on social media. On the change.org website, Rakhmi Marshita calls on the public to support opposing the film which he claims is not in accordance with social norms.
“A film, aside from being made to tell a true story, should be able to convey a positive effect on viewers, such as a positive, creative inspiration, and also contributes to an outlook which has positive values. If a film like this is allowed to be screened and widely distributed, we must be worried, that the younger generation will encounter difficulties in finding their self identify because of the examples given in this film”, wrote Marshita in the petition.
So far, 3,165 people on social media have declared their opposition to the film being screened. Most of the people commenting on the film on social media however admit to not having watched Memories of My Body. Their accusations appear to be based on the title and promotional poster depicting lead actor Arjuno applying make-up which they equate with LGBT.
Last year Memories of My Body won the Cultural Diversity Award under the patronage of UNESCO at the 12th Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane, Australia, for an “extraordinary” contribution to the promotion and conservation of cultural diversity through film. The film also won the 2018 Bisato D’Oro Award from the Venice Independent Film Critics as well Best Film at the Festival Des 3 Continents, in Nantes, France. In Indonesia the film was selected as Tempo’s Film Choice at the 2018 Tempo Film Festival in Jakarta.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kata Garin Nugroho Soal Petisi Penolakan Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku”.]