In honor of Kartini Day and with the upcoming release of the big budget Indonesian blockbuster biopic Kartini in mind, we take a look back at our 4th episode, “Reclamation!” A Kartini Day Special and provide some of our thoughts and reactions to that episode one year later. We unpack the issues around having Hanung Bramantyo — an Indonesian male director known for directing Sukarno, Perahu Kertas, and Ayat-Ayat Cinta — as the director and Dian Sastrowardoyo — Indonesia’s most famous actress — playing the lead as Kartini. Both individuals have made problematic statements about feminism in general as well as Kartini’s role as an Indonesian feminist, and given that this Kartini movie is the first movie about Kartini since the 1980s, we recognize the importance of discussing the movie in the greater context of Kartini’s legacy. With that, we recommend reading the book Panggil Aku Kartini Saja by Indonesian’s master writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer as — in our humble opinion — a better way to truly understand and honor Kartini, not as a Javanese princess nor as a mere symbol of progress, but as the true Indonesian feminist she was and continues to be.
For those interested in learning more about the topic, we’ve provided links to resources as well as other recommended readings.
Episode 4: “Reclamation!” A Kartini Day Special — can’t believe this was one year ago!
Kartini — the official trailer
Hanung Bramantyo dedicates ‘Kartini’ movie to men — this is what happens when you have a male director telling women’s stories
Dian’s Problematic Statements about Gender Equality — according to her, there’s no longer a significance difference in Indonesia today!
Panggil Aku Kartini Saja — review of the book, in Indonesian