Discussion with Akbar Yumni about Daerah Hilang by Bachtiar Siagian – The Forbidden Scenes and the Forgotten Filmmaker

Monday, 21 August 2023, 18:00 Uhr, Berlin Global Village, Am Sudhaus 2, 12053 Berlin

Bakhtiar Siagian was probably one of Indonesia’s most important left-wing film directors and thinkers. During his career from 1955 to 1965, which was marked by political censorship and persecution, he wrote and directed 13 feature films. This made him one of the most prolific Indonesian directors of his time. His socially critical films addressed poverty, injustice and powerlessness. Already under Sukarno’s presidency, provoking scenes were cut out. After the bloody coup of 1965/66, the films were banned. Bachtiar Siagian was one of the millions who fell victim to the anti-communist purge. He was imprisoned for 12 years without trial and was only released from prison in December 1977.

Akbar Yumni, cultural activist and researcher, founder of www.jurnalfootage.net, and author, follows the traces of Siagian’s film “Daerah yang Hilang”. The audience never got to see the complete film, because about 30% were cut out and mutilated beyond recognition. To this day, these scenes are lost. Based on meticulous research, Akbar Yumni has reconstructed the film using re-enacted scenes.



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