DEC. 8, 2017

Kartini

A film by Hanung Bramantyo
Indonesian language with English subtitle
122 minutes

// Anthology Film Archives, NYC

DEC. 8, 2017

Kartini

A film by Hanung Bramantyo
Indonesian language with English subtitle
122 minutes

// Anthology Film Archives, NYC


Raden Ajeng Kartini (April 21, 1879–September 17, 1904) was a one of the first feminist activists from Indonesia. She is highly regarded as national heroine for her pioneering efforts in advocating women’s rights as well as literacy and education.

Kartini was born into an aristocratic Javanese family. Her father was the regent of Jepara, and her mother was a religion teacher. The traditional practice at the time, known as pingit, forbade Kartini to attend school after the age of twelve and locked her to a sheltered life until she was ready to marry. During her time in school, Kartini became proficient at speaking Dutch—a remarkable feat for Javanese women then—and made friends with foreigners across the world. This ensured her continuation of education and fostered her interest in feminist ideals hailing from Europe, which eventually bloomed into a desire to elevate the status of Indonesian women.

After marrying the regent of Rembang, Kartini established schools for women—aptly named, Kartini Schools. The institutions welcomed all women regardless of their social statuses and backgrounds. Students were taught western curriculum, which promoted progressive philosophies of that time. Kartini inspired her students to pursue high levels of education and empowered them to fight against misogynist laws and traditions. As such, she eventually became known as the emancipator of women, who fought for their freedom, autonomy, and legal equality.

The film depicted the titular nationalist figure’s struggle and journey to empower Javanese women. The role of Kartini was played by Dian Sastrowardoyo (What’s Up With Love?), a Deauville Asian Film Festival winner for best actress. She is also accompanied by Citra Award-winner Christine Hakim (Whispering Sands) and the prolific actor Reza Rahadian (Habibie & Ainun). Hanung Bramantyo directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Bagus Bramanti.

*Content suitable for all ages.
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