"Obama Anak Menteng" a new film on the Jakarta childhood days of the US president.
A film based on the book of the same name "Obama Anak Menteng", or "Obama the Menteng Kid" opened in Jakarta cinemas on 30th June.
"Obama Anak Menteng", although filmed in the West Java city of Bandung on a RP 1 billion budget, is set in the posh Jakarta suburb of Menteng, where Obama aka Barry Soetoro lived from 1967 to 1971 with his mother and Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.
Co-director and book author Damien Dematra says the film shows the US president in a light that non-Indonesians might find odd, doing such weird things as
eating chicken satay, not hamburgers. They'll see his neighbours and friends wearing chequered sarongs and Muslim caps
On the Islam issue movie producers avoided controversy by not filming a planned scene showing boyish Obama performing sholat, or the daily prayers of a Muslim, because, as Dematra says, it was
He was just imitating other kids when they were praying but it didn't mean he wanted to be Muslim. That scene wasn't even shot because I didn't want people to take it out of context and use it against him
The film is said to be 60% fact - based on interviews with Soetoro-Obama's surviving neughbours and school day chums - and 40% down to the fertile imagination of Dematra.
The youthful Barack Hussein Obama is played by 14 year old American lad Hasan Faruq Ali, who himself is the son of a mixed-race couple and moved from Indonesia to the United States, although as a toddler.
Some lines from the film:
A neighbourhood tough makes some cutting remarks about 'Barry's' appearance:
You're from the West, but black. You've got weird hair and a big nose
While the hero himself has wise words
We have to stick together to achieve our goals and resolve our problems and fights
"Obama Anak Menteng", made by Multivision Plus Pictures, is likely to be internationally released in September 2010.