1990. My Sky, My Home – Langitku Rumahku

My Sky, My Home – Langitku Rumahku

The  slum in North Jakarta where Gempol lives with other squatters. Director : Slamet Rahardjo Djarot
Production Company : Ekapraya Film
Year of Production : 1990
Producers : Eros Djarot, Tb Boy Salehuddin, Doddy Sukasah
Screenplay : Slamet Rahardjo Djarot
Cinematography : Soetomo Gandasoebrata
Editing : Sentot Sahid
Sound : Shulka Handi Ilfat
Music : Choquie Hutagalung
Cast : Pietrajaya Burnama, Banyu Biru, Sunaryo, Untung Slamet, Yati Sumaryo
Running Time : 103 mins
Format DVD in PAL format
Andri and Gempol  become friends at Andri's school.

My Sky, My Home is a film made deliberately to be suitable for adults and for children, and succeeds in doing this. Why then should this film – suitable even for children – have been controversial in Indonesia during the Suharto era, with its distribution severely restricted?

Andri, aged about 12, lives a sheltered life with his family and servants in a mansion, and is driven to school each day by a chauffeur. Gempol lives with his family in a shanty town on the edge of the city and works collecting old paper. One day Gempol sneaks into the school playground and eavesdrops on a lesson. He dreams of being able to go to school, but his tatty appearance leads him to be arrested as a thief. Witnessing this, Andri begins to sympathise with Gempol…

The chauffeur and the cook teach the young people friendship  rituals in the kitchen of Andri's luxurious home.

My Sky, My Home raises the issue of the rapidly widening social gap in Jakarta (something increasingly inescapable to all visitors to the city) – a city of perhaps 12 million people at the time, and where wealth is concentrated in Indonesia, but where up to 70% of the population live in slums, the worst slums being the kind of shanty town where Gempol lives, which are periodically pulled down by the army and the police, and the squatters moved on. The film raises this issue of social difference as an issue for children and adults to think about – thus, not ‘calling for revolution’, but asking Indonesians of all ages to reflect upon the fates of their brother and sister citizens.

Written and directed by one of Indonesia’s leading directors, Slamet Rahardjo Djarot, and co produced by his brother, noted film director and journalist, Eros Djarot, My Sky, My Home is a gentle, thoughtful and humorous film, which shows both the vitality and resourcefulness of the poor, and their appalling living conditions and lack of opportunity. It is also a trenchant political allegory, and contains numerous, indirect, political jokes. The film won 3 prizes at the Nantes Festival of 3 Continents in France, a UNICEF prize at the Berlin Film Festival, and the Best Children’s Film prize at the Melbourne International Film Festival. In Australia it has been used extensively as a text in schools and universities teaching Indonesian language and society.

While not censored in the normal way, the film received only limited distribution in Indonesia, falling foul of the financial conglomerate controlling most of film distribution during the later stages of Suharto’s New Order Indonesia. This led to a lengthy and spirited controversy in Indonesian newspapers and magazines, and to a court case