ManDove # 36


19:00, Saturday 15th June, CMB 3

rai 36 mandove

  • Director/Anthropologist: Jim de Sève, Kian Tjong, Timothy G. Babcock
  • Year of Release: 2010
  • Duration: 65 mins
  • Country of Production: Indonesia
  • Location: Java, Madura Islands, Indonesia
  • Ethnic Group: Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Chinese
  • Language: Indonesian, Javanese, Madurese (English)

ManDove follows the magical ‘perkutut’ birds casting spells on men, taking them away from their wives, and pitting them against each other to provide their masculinity.

When General Zainuri announces the National Perkutut Championship, thousands of Muslim men arrive at the ground. Seven hundred poles stand in the centre. Men hoist their doves  - perkutut -  seven meters up and dangle them in a sea of colorful cages. A team of judges passes through the forest of tall posts straining to discern the birds’ magical coos. If the judges are impressed they score a bird’s song by tacking a small flag pole. After three hours a winner is declared. Winning ‘perkutut’ sell for tens of thousands of dollars. ‘ManDove’, in its subtle and oblique approach, pays homage to Indonesian cinema of social critique. During Suharto’s dictatorship, filmmakers avoided harsh censorship by utilizing subtle and indirect associations – they spoke in codes to their audience. A creative dialogue took place beyond what the film was allowed to say.  The film pays out as a treasure hunt, leading the audience from clue to clue, from orientalism, masculinity to the power of representation. Underscoring all of this and cleverly hidden is the filmmakers’ role as a gay couple and their wariness of being discovered. This level, when realized by the audience, reframes the entire film.

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Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

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