Niederlande 2004 – Director: Leonard Retel Helmrich – Original language: Indonesian – Subtitles: English


The second part of a trilogy on modern-day Indonesia, Shape of the Moon portrays the challenges facing three generations of a family within the growing social chaos and escalating Muslim fundamentalism of the largest Islamic community of the world. Rumidjah, a 62-year-old Catholic widow, lives in a working-class district of Jakarta, together with her rebellious son Bakti, a new Muslim convert, and her 13-year-old granddaughter Tary. The rising anarchy and uncertainty in the capital since the fall of Dictator Suharto seven years ago and religious quarrels with her son have made her seriously consider returning to the safe country village of her birth, leaving behind both her son and her granddaughter.

The film continually connects small issues with larger ones; close-up images of animals fighting are metaphors for the struggles on a bigger, human scale. In a cinéma vérité style, the camera silently follows the people in what the director calls "single-shot cinema", showing them in all their comic and tragic humanity. The camera moves along with the action, glides among people, dives to the ground, scans faces and bodies or flies high in the air when following a pedestrian crossing a staggeringly high railway bridge. This scene is worthy of a place in cinema history.

"Lastly, we have a work that quite simply embodies the pure joy of filmmaking, all the raw intimacy of a drunken relative and the eloquence of a song. While wading into the volatile issues of religion and politics in a profoundly undernourished society, it never loses sight of the value of its subjects, who are never romanticized, but are all the same never less than comically and tragically human." The Jury, IDFA Amsterdam 2004

Awards: VPRO Joris Ivens Award, Amsterdam 2004; Best Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2005; Natasha Isaacs Cinematography Award, Chicago 2005

English/Original Title: Shape Of The Moon. Camera: Leonard Retel Helmrich. Editing: Robert Broekhof, Denise Janzée, Andrez de Jong. Music: Ernst Jansz, Joep Lans, Dio Oberon. Production: Scarabeefilms. Producer: Hetty Naaijkens, Leonard Retel Helmrich. Length: 92 min. International Sales: Films Transit.

Competition (2002-2009) 2005
  • Wednesday
    English subtitles
  • Thursday
    Indonesian, English subtitles
  • Friday
    Original version, english subtitles