Bird Man Tale

Film
Pursuing his exploration of Indonesia's culturally uncharted territories, Nugroho ventures into the would-be separatist province of Irian (Papua) and comes back with a fiction/documentary hybrid which explores the fall-out from the police murder of Theys Eluay, chairman of the Papuan Council Presidium, in 2001. He frames it as a picaresque fable of self-determination, centred on a teenage boy obsessed with a woman glimpsed getting off a boat and his father, a traditional cassowary dancer and Eluay supporter. The father's performances (which give the film its title) link a series of vignettes of life in the predominantly Christian province, quirkily imagined in a way that resembles Go Takamine's Okinawan films. The documentary content includes footage of Eluay shot in 2000 and a visit to Waris, a base for the Free Papua Organisation. Many of the cultural specifics are baffling for an outsider, but the main thrust - the celebration of the region's cultural and religious autonomy - comes through loud and clear.

By: TR

Release details

Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Garin Nugroho
Screenwriter: Garin Nugroho
Cast: Octavianus R Muabuay
Lulu Tobing
Adi Kurdi
P Ramendei Thamo
Sonya Baransano
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