Chinese Cultures in Indonesian Films

August 7, 2020


Unity in Diversity is Indonesia’s motto, as it signifies Indonesia vast ethnical and cultural diversity and their vision to live in peace together. There are more than 300 ethnic diversity in Indonesia and Chinese is a part of this countless diverse ethnicity and culture.

Chinese-Indonesian ancestors mainly come from southern part of China, as they usually able to reach Indonesia by sea for economic purposes. As centuries past, their cultures have mixed with the locals and now is part of Indonesia’s society. There are producers that use this chance to promote Chinese culture in Indonesia to support Indonesia’s motto. These are some Indonesian film that use Chinese culture as their main theme.

  1. Karma (2008)

    Karma is a horror movie that is produced in 2008 and starred by Agisca Diyose, Joe Taslim, HIM Damsyik, Henky Solaiman, Verdi Solaiman and Jonathan Mulia. This movie is the first that use Chinese-Indonesia culture as the theme.

  2. CINtA (2009)

    Interfaith love is always the hot topic, especially in Indonesia. Directed by Steven Facius Winata, this film is about a Chinese-Indonesian man (Verdi Solaiman) and a Moslem woman (Titi Rajo Bintang). Thus become an epic and tear-jerking interfaith relationship story.

  3. Cai Lang Gong (2015)

    A Indonesian horror film, directed and written by David Poernomo, offers you a thrilling story. Cai Lan Gong or Jelangkung in Bahasa is a spirit calling game/ritual. People do this ritual to summon a dead spirit to a doll which is called Jelangkung.

  4. Ngenest (2015)

    Ngenest is a film starred by Ernest Prakarsa, which tells us about his story growing up in a Chinese ethnicity family. He grew up in the New Order Era when Chinese was discriminated a lot. It’s a light and fun movie to watch whilst showing the tradition in Chinese-Indonesian family.

  5. Silent Hero(es) (2015)

    Silent Hero(es) produced by Duckochan Pictures, is the first Indonesian film that’s mainly use Mandarin. Even though this film uses Mandarin, but they use Indonesian actors and actresses. The story is mainly about the struggle of 2 young’uns to preserve Chinese culture in Indonesia.
    The film set in Hongkong, Singkawang, Singapore and Jakarta. Besides Mandarin. Besides Mandarin, this film used other languages such Hakka, Indonesian and Singlish.
    As not all people speak Mandarin or Hakka or maybe Singlish, hence the producer add Indonesian subtitles to this film, to ensure that Indonesian in general can enjoy this film. This is one of the reason why we need subtitle in our videos, you can check other reasons in our article 5 Reasons Why Your Video Need Subtitle

  6. Cek Toko Sebelah (2016)

    Another film by Ernest Prakarsa. This family-oriented film is full of moral message about respecting one’s parents. In Cek Toko Sebelah, we can see how hard a father works to build a small business in order to fulfill his family’s needs, and the rejection of his sons to continue his legacy.

  7. The Last Barongsai (2017)

    Produced by Rano Karno, this film wants to tell us that education and culture is not just for show. The family’s dynamic in this film captured well, as it’s not just one character but all of them has their own problems and struggle to find their way out.

  8. Pai Kau (2018)

    Pai Kau is the story about a wedding between a rich, well known daughter of a businessman named Lucy and a handsome guy named Edy. In their wedding day, a woman named Siska wanted to ruin their wedding. She sneaks to the wedding to do her deeds as a revenge toward Edy. This film is full of love conflict and Chinese culture.