Film ‘Position Among the Stars’

Sep 23rd, 2011, in Featured, IM Posts, by

Scenes from slum life in Jakarta as a poor family does battle with globalisation.

Position among the stars'Position Among the Stars' (Stand van de Sterren) by Dutch filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich is the third part of what is now a trilogy chronicling the life of a poor family in Jakarta - the previous episodes were "The Eye of the Day” (2001) and "Shape of the Moon" (2004) - and it has won awards such as 'Best International Documentary' at IDFA 2010, the 'Special Jury Award' SUNDANCE 2011, and the 'Big Stamp' award at ZagrebDocs 2011. It is subtitled:

"One family, three generations, facing globalisation in Indonesia."

The central characters of the series are a grandmother, Rumidjah, a poor Christian woman living in a dismal part of Jakarta, and her ingrate children and grandchildren.

The trailer below, going by the music score and cinematography, suggests an almost painful over dramatisation, plus with what looks like Ahmad Sobri Lubis (of "kill Ahmadiyah" fame) screeching for jihad, and the ubiquitous mountain backdrop.

There are some priceless quotes in the trailer:

my children are all losers, they pay their debts by making more debts

However the following scene from the film suggests a considerably more humdrum portrayal of ordinary life in the country:

The film screened in Jakarta in July.


18 Comments on “Film ‘Position Among the Stars’”

  1. avatar Mas Martin says:

    The most priceless quote is “mundur untuk maju” 🙂

  2. avatar Lairedion says:

    Hey I have a flashback. I once did an article on Promised Paradise here at IM.

    David, anyone else interested in Shape of the Moon, Eye of the Day and Promised Paradise? Still have those movies although with Dutch subtitles. Send me a PM.

  3. avatar Chris says:

    I saw this movie in July at a film festival in Australia.

    However the following scene from the film suggests a considerably more humdrum portrayal of ordinary life in the country:

    90% of the film happens in Jakarta, but is book-ended by scenes of the grandmother leaving and returning to her kampung. The excerpt is at the start of the film, when the lady doesn’t understand why the economy class train wouldn’t stop to pick her up between stations (like it used to, and like buses still do).

    I haven’t seen the first two films, but it’s not really a problem to understand what happens in the third film. Lairedion, I would be very interested in borrowing your DVDs, except I speak zero Dutch.

    It was in “The Jakarta Post” last week that the film had been nominated for an Academy Award: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/09/14/documentary-jakarta%E2%80%99s-urban-poor-battles-oscar.html
    I thought nominations are only announced early next year.

    The question I have is: What impact have these movies had on the people who appear in them? And if the movie has been or will be nominated, will they become instant celebrities like the Ubud people in “Eat Pray Love” or pariahs like the Kuta Cowboys in “Cowboys in Paradise”?

  4. avatar Lairedion says:

    Chris, luckily I found another copy of “Shape of the Moon” with English subs. It’s in .avi format and around 700 MB. When the upload is ready I will PM a link or put it here if it’s OK with David.

  5. avatar David says:

    No problem, I actually looked for ‘Position Among the Stars’ on torrent but all I got for that search were Dancing with the Stars episodes, not what I wanted at all.

  6. avatar Lairedion says:

    Well, here it is:

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=ITFING8V

    Let me know if it works

  7. avatar madrotter says:

    thanks lairedion!!!!!!!! would love to see all three of them and i speak dutch:)

  8. avatar Lairedion says:

    Graag gedaan, madrotter. Give me a week or so and I will put my complete Helmrich video collection online.

  9. avatar belanda says:

    Dear Lairedion,

    I’ll be awaiting the movies,

    Alvast bedankt

  10. avatar zakton says:

    Hey, I like the second clip: the motorbike on rails is quite innovative. I wonder if it’s the real thing.

  11. avatar Oigal says:

    I am looking for a copy of Balibo Five with decent Indonesian Sub titles..I have a copy but the translation on the sub titles is nonsense .

  12. avatar agan says:

    Zakton:

    Hey, I like the second clip: the motorbike on rails is quite innovative. I wonder if it’s the real thing.

    Wakakaka……dude, that was exactly my comment when I saw the clip for the first time.

    One badass rail-ojeg, either the ojeg driver must know the train time table schedule exactly on the ball or the light at the end of the tunnel is a locomotive!
    Yes indeed very creative of Meneer Helmrich, I must say.

  13. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Oigal,

    I am looking for a copy of Balibo Five with decent Indonesian Sub titles..I have a copy but the translation on the sub titles is nonsense .

    I also looked for one when I was “back home”. Curiously, the DVD of “Balibo” I rented gave me English subtitles even when you selected the Indonesian option. I don’t think that was the Indonesian “thought police”…

    You might have more luck if you post a comment on the IM article about “Balibo”.

    Slight tangent: Despite “Balibo” being officially banned, it would be easier now for a friend to bring a “Balibo” DVD from Oz than before. (Previously passengers had to declare movies/videotapes/DVDs; it was a thing to stop “pornography”). There is a new customs form which doesn’t ask about DVDs.

  14. avatar Oigal says:

    Thanks Chris, yea actually have the OZ version, you would think decent set of subtitles…but no

  15. avatar Lairedion says:

    Another short story by Leonard Helmrich about a boy being sent to a pesantren. Central theme is the increasing role Islam is playing in Indonesian society.

    Escape From Heaven

    Format is .rm. You need good ole Real Player.

  16. avatar show me the truth says:

    @Lairedion: Thanks so much for posting the files! I’ve only been able to watch Position Among The Stars on HBO. Thanks to you, there’s hope in getting the whole story.

    Only issue is that the 2nd rar for the Shape of the Moon and Escape From Heaven seem to removed from the download location. Could you be so kind as to update those links?

    As if that wasn’t asking enough, I’m really interested to watch Promised Paradise as well. I tried to navigate the Dutch site, but had no luck finding the stream (don’t speak a lick of Dutch and google translate wasn’t helping either). Another favor – could you post a link to the stream? Or possibly upload the video?

    Thanks again!

  17. avatar Chris says:

    Here is another review of the movie, from Inside Indonesia:

    A view from below

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