WCA: The Song of Grassroots + Short Film

World Cinema Amsterdam: Indonesian film The Song of Grassroots + Q&A with director Yuda Kurniawan.

The Indonesian Wiji Thukul was not only a poet, but also a human rights activist. He disappeared without a trace in 1998. His now 21-year-old son Fajar Merah tries to keep the memory of his father alive by putting the poems of his father into music.

Wiji Thukul, born in 1963, was not only a poet, but above all a human rights activist who was very critical of the Indonesian government. The government was then under the leadership of Suharto. In 1998, when the country was hit hard by a huge economic crisis and major upheavals, Thukul disappeared without a trace. Nothing has been heard from him since – a fate he shares with countless others. Together with his band, Merah Bercerita, his now 21-year-old son Fajar Merah, tries to keep the memory of his father alive by putting his poems into music. This is why filmmaker Yuda Kurniawan decided to make this documentary – not only in memory of Thukul, but also as a tribute to his son Fajar, who in his eyes achieves a perfect and very musical mix of lyrics and notes.

This day focuses on independent cinema from Indonesia and to celebrate this occasion we offer a special Indonesian dinner menu which you can reserve online. You can either choose Rendang with atjar, white rice and Krupuk or the vegetarian option Sajoer Lodeh. The meals will be prepared by our head chef Marc Raven.

Reserve here for the special Indonesian menu and please mention your choice, “Rendang” or “Sajoer Lodeh” in the comment section of your reservation.

+ Short Film: It’s Wijilan

In Wijilan Village, in the middle of Yogyakarta, lie the origins of Hellhouse. It is a hip-hop collective teaching workshops to kids and teens. The young participants, aka Kids on the Beats, love it. Some adults not so much…

About the directors:

Yuda Kurniawan (1982, Indonesia) is an editor and filmmaker. His The Ballads of Cinema Lovers was nominated for best feature-length documentary at the 37th Indonesian Film Festival and competed at the Asian Film Festival Barcelona 2018. The Song of Grassroots premièred at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival and won the CITRA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the 38th Indonesian Film Festival.

Alexander Sinaga (1986, Indonesia) is a rapper and music producer of duo hip-hop based in Yogyakarta, named D.P.M.B. He started to learn deeper in visual project in the mid-2016, created the music video of Indonesia’s finest rappers.


Yuda Kurniawan(1982, Indonesia) Editor and filmmaker.