Position among the Stars, The

Leonard Retel Helmrich

In Position Among the Stars, that triumphed at the IDFA 2010, director Leonard Retel Helmrich portrays the humorous and touching day-to-day worries of the Indonesian Sjamsuddin family. The brisk grandmother Rumidjah, her headstrong son Bakti and adolescent granddaughter Tari are faced with religious dilemmas and have trouble choosing between city life and country life.

Position Among the Stars is the last part of Leonard Retel Helmrich’s trilogy about the Christian-Islamic Sjamsuddin family. It was re-filmed using a Single Shot Cinema, a cinematographic style that is reminiscent of cinéma vérité and direct cinema because of its recording style, without interviews and voice-over, long, uninterrupted shots as well as generous and intuitive camera movements. Rather than a fly-on-the-wall, the camera is a fly-in-the-air, swinging back and forth between the family members while none of them seems to be disturbed by the filmmakers’ presence – not even the rats and the cockroaches. Indirectly, Retel Helmrich draws a portrait of modern-day Indonesia. While Rumidjah and Bakti hope that Tari will be the first family member to take up study, Tari herself is mainly interested in shopping and boys, as most stubborn adolescents. All this takes place against a background of preachers calling for the introduction of Islamic Sharia law.

Credits

Director
Leonard Retel Helmrich
Country
Netherlands, The
Type
Documentary
Duration
109 minutes
Themes
education & schools, poverty
Year
2010