YIDFF 2011 New Asian Currents
Prison and Paradise
An Interview with Daniel Rudi Haryanto (Director)

For a Dialogue Towards Peace

Q: Your film is made carefully from multi-perspectives, featuring the perpetrators, their families, and the families of the victims. Why did you decide to make it?

DRH: On October 12, 2002, 202 people were killed in a terrorist bombing in Bali, Indonesia. I got to know former Washington Post journalist Nor Huda Ismail and learned that terrorism, not only in Indonesia but across Southeast Asia, is a very complicated issue. There is a mentorship relationship among terrorists, where each attack is exercised under a mentor. I decided to make an independent film in 2003 when I started interviewing the terrorists who are under death row for this attack: Initiator Ali Gufron; field commander Imam Samdura; Amrozy, who provided the explosives; and bomb assembler Ali Imron. Indonesian people know that terrorism is a difficult issue to cope with. Considering the state of terrorism and what happens after terrorist attacks today, I hope this film will become a medium for world peace not only in Indonesia, but in other Asian countries and the world.

Q: You film the victims’ families as well as the perpetrators and their families. What was your stance?

DRH: In 2003, I interviewed the perpetrators. With the permission of Bali police, I filmed and recorded conversations from a layman’s point of view. Then in 2005 and 2010, I talked to the families of the victims. In 2007, I filmed as the perpetrators’ families visited the men in prison. My intention was not to take sides but approach both families equally.

Q: Did you show the film to those who appear in it?

DRH: Of course I did. I asked Nor Huda to show it to the wives of the terrorists and Eka Laksmi, the victim’s wife. When I told them that the film will be screened in Yamagata, they conveyed a message to the Japanese public with an understanding and hope for world peace. They prayed for my safe journey.

Q: In Japan, families of criminals are sometimes publically bullied. Does that happen?

DRH: Under the Suharto regime until 1995, some people were labeled communists and persecuted. It’s the same for terrorists. People will eventually learn what the father of these girls did. Laksmi, the victim’s wife will also be a target for the media. I filmed the families of the perpetrators and victims from close proximity in this film, so I do feel that I need to be very considerate in screening it, particularly for the children’s future.

Q: What are your thoughts about jihad?

DRH: In my country, they say that the Japanese are more Islamic than Muslims. Nature is an important part of the Islamic belief. Here in Yamagata, I feel that the people are considerate. They protect and take care of nature. They follow discipline, work hard, study every day, and keep the rivers clean. This is very Muslim. To do something earnestly and wholeheartedly—this is what the original concept of jihad means, in Arabic. Jihad in its true form means to make sincere effort and elevate humanity.

(Compiled by Okada Mana)

Interviewers: Okada Mana, Horikawa Keita / Interpreter: Sugiura Toshiko / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Iida Yukako / Video: Endo Nao / 2011-10-08