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This is Film! 2022 #6: Lisabona Rahman and Umi Lestari

#6: Lisabona Rahman and Umi Lestari (Indonesian Film Heritage)

This is Film! 2022 #6

The final session of the public lecture series This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice invites archival practitioner Lisabona Rahman and curator Umi Lestari to present their research on Ratna Asmara, a female Indonesian director and performer.

poster This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice 2022

This lecture by Lisabona Rahman and Umi Lestari traces the life and career of Ratna Asmara, the first female director after the Indonesian Independence in 1945. Before becoming a film director, she was a well-known performing artist in/around Dutch East Indies and (now) Southeast Asia.

Even though she was a prominent film director, little is known about her work as she remained unacknowledged and in the peripheries of Indonesian film discourse and historiography. Exploring Asmara’s career and filmography is a chance to understand aspects of Indonesian cinema history beyond its current image, characterised by the dominance of nationalism, militarism, and androcentrism.

Introduction by Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at Eye and Professor of Film Heritage at the University of Amsterdam). Q&A in collaboration with the Master students of the This is Film! class at the University of Amsterdam.

Screening: Doctor Samsi (Ratna Asmara, ID 1952, ± 83’)

Doctor Samsi is a story of intrigue, murder, and questions of morality. This film is probably Ratna Asmara’s most known work and was written by her husband Andjar Asmara. The story follows Doctor Samsi, whose child is switched at birth by a nurse. Many years later, things start unravelling when the baby, now working as a lawyer, defends, unbeknownst to him, his biological mother in court against the allegations that she murdered the nurse.


Lisabona Rahman studied Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image at the University of Amsterdam and worked at the restoration laboratory L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna. She is a freelance consultant and programmer currently based in Berlin/Jakarta, and a member of the Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association (SEAPAVAA).

Umi Lestari is a writer, curator, and teacher. Studying the histories and aesthetics of Indonesian cinema, she is a lecturer at the Film Department, Universitas Multimedia Nusantara, Jakarta, Indonesia.

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180 min.

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Part of

This is Film! 2022

This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice is an annual public lecture series devoted to notable projects in the fields of film restoration and film heritage, with international guest speakers and film screenings.

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This is Film! 2022 #6: Lisabona Rahman and Umi Lestari
This is Film! 2022 #6: Lisabona Rahman and Umi Lestari

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