'The Woven Path: Perempuan Tana Humba' is the fifth documentary by Lasja F. Susatyo. (Photo courtesy of Tanakhir Films)

Documentary Explores Role of Women in Sumba Traditions

BY : NUR YASMIN

MAY 16, 2019

Jakarta. A two-part documentary short film produced by Tanakhir Films was presented at an event opened with poetry readings by Indonesian actresses and artists, in Central Jakarta on May 10.

"The Woven Path: Perempuan Tana Humba" is the fifth documentary by Lasja F. Susatyo. The 10-minute-long "The Woven Path" is a film about two poems titled "Mother" by poets from two different generations – Diana Timoria and Umbu Landu Paranggi – while the 30-minute-long "Perempuan Tana Humba" ("Women of Humba") deals with the traditions and culture of Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara.

"I'm always in love with Tana Humba. Its nature, its weaving, its people and its culture. So when Lasja proposed this film idea, I immediately agreed. I hope these films can show how beautiful Sumba is, and also start a discussion on the position of women there," film producer Mandy Marahimin said.

The films consist of three rounds: "Marapu," "Belis" ("Dowry") and "Perkawinan" ("Marriage"). In "Marapu," the audience follows a series of ceremonies carried out in Sumba, ranging from a wedding to a death ritual. In this round, viewers are expected to understand the importance of these rituals to the Sumba community.

"Belis" deals with the dowry system, which is transactional, meaning that after it is paid, the bride belongs to the groom's family. This round exposes the effect it has on women's position in family and society.

"Perkawinan" shows how wedding rituals are performed in Sumba and their impact on the role of women.

"I want to raise the theme of women in traditional Sumbanese culture today, especially related to dowry and marriage, which are often very burdensome," Lasja said.

The poems that were recited during the event were written by Diana Timoria. Her poem "Perempuan Sabana" ("Women of Sabana") was read by Wulan Guritno and Kelly Tandiono. Maudy Koesnaedi and Dian Sastrowardoyo read "Perempuan Sabana 2," while Nirvani Amabel Ananda and Adinia Wirasti recited "Perempuan Sabana 3."

The films, which are expected to raise awareness and initiate dialogue on women's role in traditional societies, will be screened in schools on Sumba Island and the rest of Indonesia in July.

The films are supported by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, and Plaza Indonesia shopping mall in Central Jakarta.

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