JAKARTA. The Kineforum Misbar open-air movie theater is back this month for its second year running, aiming to reclaim public space and promote local movies.
Misbar, a classic abbreviation that stands for gerimis bubar (disperse when it starts to rain), was a term used to describe open-air cinemas, locally known as Layar Tancep, that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s when the local film industry enjoyed its heyday.
“Lawan” or “fight” has been picked as the theme for the two-week event, which started on Saturday and will end on Dec. 6, being held in two locations — the Blok S basketball court in South Jakarta and Menteng Park in Central Jakarta.
Kineforum Misbar program manager Alexander Mathius said on Friday the theme was chosen to celebrate Indonesia’s year of politics, as the country had recently witnessed a democratic process during the general elections and, to some extent, experienced changes.
“We were referring to a constructive protest against today’s phenomenon as we aim to reclaim public space. This is also a protest against [limitations] in access to local movies,” he said at Kineforum in Central Jakarta.
Jakarta Arts Council film committee head Totot Indrarto said there was a big shift in how people perceived movie theaters or going to the movies nowadays due to rapid development.
“Forty percent of movie theaters in Indonesia are located in Jakarta and almost all of them are inside shopping malls. Going to movie theaters these days is perceived as an option among other activities [in shopping malls] such as eating ice cream or drinking coffee, not a ritual like it used to be during the film industry’s heyday. So competition does not [only] happen among movies, but it’s movies against other activities,” Totot said.
During the film industry’s heyday, he said, popular comedic group Warkop DKI’s movies could attract up to 10 million people per movie.
“Back in the 1980s, 120 million people went to movie theaters annually. That figure was equal to the country’s population at the time,” he said.
He added that movies had also begun to be perceived as consumable items rather than a learning channel.
“This phenomenon has hit our literary culture. This is why good local movies hardly sell anymore,” he said.
By screening curated local movies through outdoor movie theaters, Kineforum Misbar also aimed to promote local movies, both classic and modern.
Alexander said Kineforum Misbar would screen up to 40 movies, including features and short movies.
“The movie Kantata Takwa will open the event. The titular movie tells the tale of an Indonesian super band [...] Kineforum Misbar will also screen Garuda Power for the first time. The movie, which premiered at the Busan Film Festival [South Korea], tells the history of Indonesia’s action movies,” he said.
“There will be no prior reservations as the movies will be screened for free,” Kineforum Misbar manager Sekar said, adding that information on the movie schedules could be found through website kineforum.org and Twitter account @kineforum. (Sita W. Dew)
Editor: Yudho Winarto