I just discovered this first film about queer women in Indonesia from a friend’s post on Facebook. According to a webpage, it’s “the first film about the world and experiences of queer women in Indonesia. In this interlace short films, nine female filmmakers show us about what it means to be a queer woman in the country with the world largest Muslim population.” The titular character Srikandi is a character in the Mahabharata, the classic Hindu epic, that is frequently used in Indonesian shadow puppet theater. In one version, Srikandi is the female warrior who becomes a man to marry a woman and bear kids by changing gender identity and sexual orientation. The legend reminds me of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.
I’ve been reading on one of their websites for the film but am still queerious about what the movie is about. Well, it’s definitely going to be experimental with interweaving “deep personal” stories told by the queer women. It also says, “Popular stereotypes about Muslims, homosexuals and transgender people are thereby deconstructed and challenged.”
As you know, Indonesia is an extremely culturally conservative country toward homosexuality. Our fellow blogger Yogi had difficult experiences in Indonesia for being queer which he might talk about it one day. Indonesian programmer John Badalu receives annual death threats for his queer film festival in Jakarta. From hearing about the cultural climate there, I’m sure this film will be controversial and significant.
Children of Srikandi will be at Berlin and probably be seen in film festivals around the world. I will watch out for this quite queerious film.