Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Festival Danau Toba III

I had low expectations of the evening. Justifiably. It was pouring with rain. The planned showing of Rangsa ni Tonun did not appear in the program and the hotel where it would be screened turned out to know nothing about it and was reluctant to open its doors for the event. Thompson decided at the last moment to re-locate the event to a café called Sekapur Sirih. He said that everybody had received a text message about the change. I had my doubts that anybody would turn up.

Nobody dribbled in. It was past curtain time and the café was still empty. Then Ibu Theodora, head of tourism for Samosir, appeared with some of her staff. She had seen our film and she talked to me about the need to maintain the weaving tradition. Then to my complete surprise, the Bupati and his wife appeared, and Christine Hakim was with them. We sat together at the table and talked about the nature of citizenship, the importance of the ‘feeling’ and knowledge of history and culture to becoming a true citizen of a nation.
Our little but amazing audience on a rainy night in an open cafe. (Photograph by MJA Nashir)

I presented a bit of a foreword, we showed the film 
We showed the film in a traditional Batak sopo, rather fitting, we thought. It was an intriguing part of the cafe. (Photograph by MJA Nashir)

and then I presented the team: Pak Jerry and Mas Nashir.  This was the first time I had presented Pak Jerry in public as a member of the team. He was amazing. He grabbed the microphone and thanked the audience, then asked if the Bupati would like to say a few words. This was the magic turning point. The Bupati’s speech stunned us all. 
Bupati Mangindar Simbolon was eloquent in his support of Batak textiles. (Photograph by MJA Nashir)

He was full of appreciation for the film and full of understanding about the tradition. He remembered indigo being made when he was a child. He underscored the importance of creating opportunities for knowledge to be handed down from elderly grandmothers to the youth. He is clearly a bright man and his impromptu speech was strong and good.

He then handed the microphone to Christine Hakim.  This amazing woman stunned me again with her ability to speak from the heart and to move her listeners. 
Christine Hakim inspires in the way she integrates heart and mind
(Photograph by MJA Nashir)
She pointed to Micro and Mini (Lasma and Febrina) and indicated that they represented talent and the will that should be supported by government so that the knowledge of the ancestors would not be lost. She talked about Batak textiles as something close to the soul, as having eternal importance to all of Indonesia as well as the Batak. By then I had learned that she is one of Indonesia’s most famous actresses and film-makers.
Pak Jerry posed for a picture with Christine Hakim. (Photograph by MJA Nashir)

Then it was Lasma’s turn to move hearts and minds. She asked if she could have the microphone. She stood up and spoke loudly and clearly. 
Lasma spoke loudly and well.

I recognized the young woman that we had recorded in 2011. Her words were strong. She urged young people to do something about maintaining their heritage saying that they would be responsible for the loss of their culture if they did not do something about it. She spoke respectfully, with self-awareness and conviction. She stunned everybody present. Including herself. A volcano inside her had erupted.

Our film was the pebble. The ripples in the water were stronger that night than they have ever been.

Everything concluded with the requisite group photograph.

No comments:

Post a Comment