Monday, March 7, 2011

Movie: Obama Anak Menteng (literally 'Obama, the Menteng Kid')

In May 2010, Damien Demantra began filming a partially fictionalized movie about Obama as a young boy living in Indonesia. The film was based on Demantra's novel by the same name, "Obama Anak Menteng."  Menteng was the upscale neighborhood where Obama grew up in the 1970s.  The producer's official website for the movie is here.

Wikipedia sources describe Obama Anak Menteng as follows:
The film's script was written in three to four weeks and underwent four revisions before it was finalized.[6] It was shot over a period of 25 days, being "rushed" through production in order to be ready for a screeening on June 17 2010, set to coincide with President Obama's planned state visit to Indonesia.[7][4][2][8][9] Upon cancellation of Obama's visit, the film premier was rescheduled to July 1 2010.[8]
Director Dematra is quoted as stating that the film is "60 percent fact and 40 percent fiction".[7][10] "This is not so much a movie about Barack Obama, but rather about a 10-year-old African-American kid who landed in Indonesia for the first time, and who was going to be confronted with racism, difference and pluralism. And it is this confrontation that may have helped him to become the president of the United States."[11] "It's about his friendships, his hobbies, just a childhood story," said Dematra. "It's not about politics, it's just the story of a boy."[12] "

On the producer's website, there is a News link.  Their press release for June 21, 2010, mentions this rather interesting tidbit:
After some consideration, production team of LITTLE OBAMA, a biopic on the childhood life of the President of the USA, Barrack Obama, has decided to drop praying scene from the film. It has been widely acknowledged that the plan to include the praying scene has brought unwanted attention to stir the film from its original intention of being a hopeful film on pluralism, according to Damien Dematra, Executive Producer, and Writer of LITTLE OBAMA.
Scenes in the book describe Obama as reciting the Koran and praying towards Mecca.  According to Wikipedia,
Dematra interviewed 30 people prior to writing the novel,[7] Obama Anak Menteng (literally Obama, the Menteng Kid) ISBN 9789792254945, which he completed in just four days after one month of research.[6][20] The novel was published in March 2010 by Gramedia, and had its official launch at Obama's former school, State Elementary School Menteng 01, on March 15 2010.[21][22] The novel received some criticism for its portrayal of Obama reciting the Qur'an and praying towards Mecca.[13][6] It subsequently developed that the scene did not make it into the film,[8] having been dropped as being deemed "too political".[7][23][10] The director stated, "That scene wasn't shot because I didn't want people to take it out of context and use it against him".[19] When interviewed, director Dematra emphasized that while the scenes are true, the story is not about Obama praying, and he had not decided whether the scene would appear in the film adaptation.

 Efforts to find a copy of Dematra's book have so far been unsuccessful. Even the ISBN number seems to have disappeared.  How convenient for Obama.  Should anyone find an English copy, I hope they will share it with the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment