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Indonesian Cinema after the New Order

Going Mainstream

In Indonesian Cinema after the New Order: Going Mainstream, Thomas Barker presents the first systematic and most comprehensive history of contemporary Indonesian cinema. The book focuses on a 20-year period of great upheaval from modest, indie beginnings, through mainstream appeal, to international recognition. More than a simple narrative, Barker contributes to cultural studies and sociological research by defining the three stages of an industry moving from state administration; through needing to succeed in local pop culture, specifically succeeding with Indonesian youth, to remain financially viable; until it finally realizes international recognition as an art form. This “going mainstream” paradigm reaches far beyond film history and forms a methodology for understanding the market in which all cultural industries operate, where the citizen-consumer (not the state) becomes sovereign. Indonesia presents a particularly interesting case because “going mainstream” has increasingly meant catering to the demands of new Islamic piety movements. It has also meant working with a new Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, established in 2011. Rather than a simplified creative world many hoped for, Indonesian filmmaking now navigates a new complex of challenges different to those faced before 1998. Barker sees this industry as a microcosm of the entire country: democratic yet burdened by authoritarian legacies, creative yet culturally contested, international yet domestically shaped.

244 pages | 26 b&w illus. | 6 x 9


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