Indonesian hypocrisy regarding movie titles

In the 23 February 2008 issue of The Jakarta Post, Veronica Kusuma, a student with the film department at the Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ), made a very interesting opinion article regarding film censorship in Indonesia.

Amongst heaps of stuff she discussed there, there was one particular point that intrigued me. In that article she reminded us about the Buruan Cium Gue (Kiss Me Quick) movie title case that made it into the headlines in 2004 due to its title which was deemed unsuitable for the mostly conservative Indonesian population. Widespread protests led to a change in the movie title and the withdrawal of its distribution.

This bothered me a lot. Why? Because, however promiscuous the title may seem to most Indonesians, there are other –more recently released— movies with more provoking titles that had oddly escaped public uproar. Maaf, Saya Menghamili Istri Anda (Sorry, I Banged Up Your Wife) and Kawin Kontrak (Contract Marriage) are two good examples.

There are indeed controversies regarding the Maaf, Saya Menghamili Istri Anda movie, yes, but if they want to ban one movie, they should be consequent in their principles and ban ALL movies that have similarly agitating titles.

An interesting hypocrisy indeed.

There is another unique stuff that she did not forget to point out:

“Since there is only one film school in [Indonesia], many filmmakers who work at the community level are self-taught. The rise of pirated DVDs is one of the important phenomenons [sic] because it enables many people to access movies – a privilege that in the past was only available for those with money.”

This shows a good side of the having illegal DVDs sold everywhere, apart from the movies having more accessible prices for the average Indonesians. I guess there is always pros and cons to everything, isn’t there?

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