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The Song Of Grassroots

Wiji Thukul was not only a poet, but also a human rights activist. He disappeared without a trace in 1998. His son Fajar Merah has put his poems to music. A double portrait

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Deze voorstelling maakt deel uit van Rialto Filmclub met als gastspreker deze maand Ernst-Jan Pfauth.

The Song of Grassroots

Wiji Thukul, born in 1963, was not only a well-known Indonesian poet, but above all a human rights activist who was very critical of the Indonesian government, which was then under the leadership of Suharto. In 1998, when the country was hit hard by a huge economic crisis and major upheavals, Thukul disappeared without a trace. Nothing has been heard from him since – a fate he shares with countless others.

Together with his band Merah Bercerita, founded in 2010, his now 21-year-old son Fajar Merah, tries to keep the memory of his father alive by putting his poems to music. It's why filmmaker Yuda Kurniawan decided to make this documentary – not only in memory of Thukul, but also as a tribute to his son Fajar, who in his eyes achieves a perfect and very musical mix of lyrics and notes. Meanwhile, a new president was chosen in 2014: Joko Widodo. Will he shed light on the fate of Thukul and all other disappeared people?

De Balie
The Song of Grassroots will be screened at De Balie on Thurday 22 August at 21:15h. Tickets for all WCA screenings at De Balie can be purchased via their website. Click here for tickets for this screening.  

With short film:

Sat 17 August | 21:30 | Rialto
Thu 22 August | 21:15 | De Balie

It’s Wijilan
Alexander Sinaga | Indonesia | 2018 | 20’ | Indonesian spoken | English subtitles
In Wijilan Village, in the middle of Yogyakarta, lie the origins of Hellhouse, a hip-hop collective teaching workshops to kids and teens. The young participants, aka Kids on the Beats, love it. Some adults not so much...

YUDA KURNIAWAN (1982, Indonesia) is an editor and filmmaker. His The Ballads of Cinema Lovers was nominated for best feature-length documentary at the 37th Indonesian Film Festival and competed at the Asian Film Festival Barcelona 2018. The Song of Grassroots premiered at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival and won the CITRA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the 38th Indonesian Film Festival.