these films examined the new international business world of Jakarta that evolved rapidly in the 1970s and the shady land deals that accompanied this expansion, basing their critique on the loss of the Betawi values of reciprocity; sometimes they spoofed the images of western popular culture.
Another innovation was the 'Dangdut' musical. Dangdut is a highly rhythmic Indonesian popular music that exploded as a mass-culture phenomenon in the 1970s. It had some similarities with rock, but was highly melodious, and had a long line of evolution through Melayu 'kroncong' music, subtly mixed with elements of Indian and Arab music. Developed jointly with Elvy Sukaesih, it was very consciously given a further Islamic dimension by Rhoma Irama, in an attempt to discover an 'Eastern' style. Irama was banned from television for ten years because he espoused certain Islamic positions antithetical to the state, but his films did very well at the box-office. The dramas played out in these films are often rudimentary but the power of their music made them extremely popular, particularly among the poor.
A third genre that developed during this period was the 'Queen of the Southern Ocean' genre, based on legends about Nyi Roro Kidul, the mythical queen exiled to the bottom of the Southern Ocean, and her daughter, Nyi Blorong, who had the power to prey on the living, sometimes for good, more often for bad. This genre was related to the 'Crocodile Queen' films, and both were Indonesian variants of the 'monstrous feminine' or the ambiguous or negative mother image. Clearly there were strong influences from the Indian cinema in these films, but the matriarchal elements present in Javanese society made the genre popular, as well as the strength of pre-Islamic Hindu Buddhist mythology in the popular imagination.
Other codified genre films also proved extremely popular during the 1970s and 1980s; the Indonesian martial arts film ( silat), the teenage film ( remaja), the popular Islamic history film, usually about the coming of Islam to Indonesia, the Hindu Buddhist history film, the stories from the colonial period, and the governmentfunded political history film. In the 1980s a westernized group, known as 'Warung Coffee', emerged to produce films which delighted audiences with their slapstick humour and jokes in Jakarta dialect.
In the 1990s the viability of the national film industry has been put into crisis by the large-scale introduction of commercial television. However, the people of Indonesia have a great interest in their national cinema, with major directors more respected and better known than their counterparts in the west. Debates about film culture that in many western countries are limited to specialists are conducted openly in the daily press in Indonesia. The country has a National Film Council, a film school at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts (where students are taught by practitioners), and a film archive, Sinematek Indonesia. The National Film Council is a quasi-autonomous consultative body made up of artists, administrators, and businessmen, which has done much to raise the profile of the film industry. While censorship has restricted the range of issues that can be openly discussed in Indonesia, film culture has been used by artists to focus issues of national significance which might not otherwise have been raised.
Ardan, S. M. ( 1992), Dari gambar idoep ke sinepleks ('From early actualities to the multiplex cinemas').
Biran, Misbach Yusa ( 1982), Indonesian cinema: lintasan sejarah ('Indonesian cinema: a historical perspective').
Heider, Karl ( 1991), Indonesian Cinema. National Culture on Screen.
Said, Salim ( 1991), Shadows on the Silver Screen: A Social History of the Indonesian Film.
Sen, Krishna ( 1994), Indonesian Cinema: Framing the New Order.
The history of cinema on the Chinese mainland after the Communist take-over in 1949 falls into four distinct periods. From 1949 to 1966, a national film base financed by the state produced Socialist Realist 'worker-peasantsoldier' films, in an attempt to build an indigenous 'revolutionary cinema'. Feature film production virtually stopped during the early years of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1972, except for ten filmed operas ('revolutionary model operas'). In the years following the Cultural Revolution innovative efforts and 'exploratory films' dismantled the conventions of classical revolutionary realism and redefined the language of Chinese cinema. Then, in 1987, studios took up full financial accountability and started producing entertainment movies, prompting a gradual reversal to a market-driven commercial cinema.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Oxford History of World Cinema. Contributors: Geoffrey Nowell-Smith - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 693.
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