On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures

Indonesia’s writers have been instrumental in the creation of national identity, the encouragement of debate about the direction of Indonesia’s future, and the interpretation of Indonesia’s past. The history of modern Indonesian literature, especially in the twentieth century, is marked by incredible variety and vitality, despite lengthy periods of political repression. From the colonial past to the present, Indonesian writers have also shown incredible versatility and maintained a consistent ability to cross genres.

"On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" features filmed interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. Each film in the series focuses on a specific individual writer and offers viewers a direct look at the people behind the books. All films (stock footage and final/edited versions) are in Indonesian. Each final/edited film in the series has a runtime of approximately 24-30 minutes and is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document. This film series is part of the Lontar Digital Library, which provides preservation and access to materials produced and gathered by the Lontar Foundation over its 25+ year history including:

  • Books and journals: publications by Lontar, Amanah and Godown (imprints of the Lontar Foundation), as well as information about Lontar’s library holdings (a collections of over 3,000 books, periodicals and other research materials related to Indonesian history, literature, drama, language, poetry and other topics;
  • Video: films from On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures, Indonesian Performance Traditions, and Wayang Kulit/Shadow Puppet Theater Series (including stock footage and final versions).
  • Audio interviews with Indonesian writers and eyewitness accounts of significant events in Indonesian history;
  • Images: archival photographs of traditional manuscripts, colonial-era postcards, and historical images from the New Order to the present.

The Lontar Digital Library uses linked data and the Semantic Web to share information about our collections with the online community on the Internet. You can find information about Lontar materials and authors in Freebase, OpenLibrary and Wikipedia.

Biography of Wispi, Agam, 1930-2003
Unedited Stock Footage: Agam Wispi has lived in exile since the abortive Communist coup. in 1996, this former LEKRA writer returned to Indonesia for the first time since 1965. This film contains the raw stock footage taken in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, directed by Riri Riza and John McGlynn, this footage was used to create the biography of Agam Wispi in Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Soeman Hs., (1904-1999)
Unedited Stock Footage: Soeman Hs. (Hasibuan) is best known as the first writer of detective stories in modern Indonesian literature. He also pioneered a new genre of humorous short story writing. This film contains the raw stock footage taken in Pekanbaru, Riau, Indonesia, directed by Arswendy Nasution, this footage was used to create the biography of Soeman Hs. in Indonesian Literary Figures series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Dini, Nh, 1936-
Unedited Stock Footage: Nh. Dini. In the 1970s, Nurhayati Srihardini began to release a long series of semi-biographical books known for their creative narrative structure and feminist spirit. This film contains the raw stock footage taken at the author's home in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, biography of Nh. Dini in the "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Heraty, Toeti, 1933-
Unedited Stock Footage: Toeti Heraty, trained in medicine and psychology, the poetess Toeti Heraty, questions traditional precepts, particularly the patriarchal nature of social roles prescribed for women. This film is part of the raw stock footage directed by Jajang C. Noer and Tinuk Yampolsky and filmed in Jakarta, was used to create the biography of Toeti Heraty in the "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Jatman, Darmanto. 1942-
Unedited Stock Footage: Darmanto Jatman is a poet examining divergent influences on his identity, his Javanese-Christian upbringing, training as a psychologist, and his time studying abroad. This film contains the raw stock footage taken in Semarang, Central Java, and Carita, Banten. Part of this footage was used to create the biography of Darmanto Jatman Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Damono, Sapardi Djoko, 1940
Unedited Stock Footage: Sapardi Djoko Damono is a poet, a lecturer and a translator, who has written a medley of poems, essays, and has translated a lot of foreign literature into Bahasa Indonesia. This film contains the raw stock footage taken in Depok, West Java, Indonesia, directed by Tonny Trimarsanto, this footage was used to create the biography of Sapardi Djoko Damono in Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Sukanta, Putu Oka, 1939-
Unedited Stock Footage: Putu Oka Sukanta (1939-) poets and novelist was imprisoned without trial for 10 years following the events of 1965. He now works with alternative healing therapies and HIV/AIDS. This film is part of the raw stock footage taken at the author's home in Jakarta, Indonesia. Part of this footage was used to create the biography of Putu Oka Sukanta in the "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Kayam, Umar (1932-2002)
Unedited Stock Footage: Umar Kayam (2001), is an academic, novelist, and poet, Umar Kayam (1932-2002) began writing in the 1960s while studying in New York. His novellas are considered among the best prose of the 1970s. This film contains the raw stock footage directed by Eddy Pras, this footage was used to create the biography of Umar Kayam in Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Mohamad, Goenawan, 1941-
Unedited Stock Footage: Goenawan Mohamad emerged as a poet and activist in the early 1960s. A poet, journalist, and essayist, he gained national fame for his work with the news magazine Tempo. This film is part of the raw stock footage taken at the writer's home in Jakarta, Indonesia. Part of this footage was used to create the biography of Goenawan Mohamad in the "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Taufiq Ismail (1935 - )
Unedited Stock Footage: Taufiq Ismail, a key member of the "Generation of '66", edits the literary magazine Horison and enjoys a well-deserved reputation for his public reading skills. This film contains the raw stock footage taken in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2001. Part of this footage was used to create the biography of Taufiq Ismail in the "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Danarto, 1940-
Unedited Stock Footage: Danarto (b. 1940) the writer and painter became known in the 1970s. His work as writer is deeply influenced by his training as a visual artist and his study of Sufi mysticism. This film is part of the raw stock footage taken in Jakarta, Indonesia. Part of this footage was used to create the biography of Danarto in the "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. All films are in Indonesian and the final "On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures" series is in Indonesian with English subtitles. A film log (in Indonesian) is also available as a text document.
Biography of Selasih
Final edited version of Namaku Selasih/My Name is Selasih, directed by Jajang C. Noer. Selasih (1909-1995) began publishing work in the 1930s. An outspoken social critic, her works challenged traditional precepts regarding women’s roles and other social conventions. This film is the final edited version of the biography of Selasih was filmed in Sumatera Barat, Indonesia as part of the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights.This film is in Indonesian with English subtitles and transcripts in English and Indonesian are also available. About the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series: in an effort to promote knowledge about Indonesian literature and its creators, Lontar has thus far produced 24 films on Indonesian writers. These films offer viewers a direct look at the people behind the books. We are able to hear, directly from the writers’ mouths, their reminiscences and their thoughts. Each film is approximately 24 - 29 minutes in length, additional raw footage is available through the Lontar Digital Library., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A090018.
Biography of Dini, Nh.
Final edited version of Sosok Pengarang Wanita dan Dunianya/A Woman Writer and her World, directed by Edi Mandala. In the 1970s, Nurhayati Srihardini (b. 1936) began to release a long series of semi-biographical books known for their creative narrative structure and feminist spirit. This film is the final edited version of the biography of Nh. Dini filmed at author's home in Semarang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia as part of the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. This film is in Indonesian with English subtitles and transcripts in English and Indonesian are also available. About the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series: in an effort to promote knowledge about Indonesian literature and its creators, Lontar has thus far produced 24 films on Indonesian writers. These films offer viewers a direct look at the people behind the books. We are able to hear, directly from the writers’ mouths, their reminiscences and their thoughts. Each film is approximately 24 - 29 minutes in length, additional raw footage is available through the Lontar Digital Library., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A090018.
Biography of Alisjahbana, S. Takdir (Sutan Takdir), 1908-1994
This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A090018., Final edited version of Dan Hidup Berjalan Terus/And Life Goes On.... the biography of Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana directed by Riri Riza. Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana (1908-1994) is the founder and editor of the literary journal Pujangga Baru, which shaped the future of Indonesian literature around the time of independence. This film is the final edited version of the biography of Sutan Takdir Alisjahbanataken filmed at the author's home in Jakarta, Indonesia as part of the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. This film is in Indonesian with English subtitles and transcripts in English and Indonesian are also available. About the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series: in an effort to promote knowledge about Indonesian literature and its creators, Lontar has thus far produced 24 films on Indonesian writers. These films offer viewers a direct look at the people behind the books. We are able to hear, directly from the writers’ mouths, their reminiscences and their thoughts. Each film is approximately 24 - 29 minutes in length, additional raw footage is available through the Lontar Digital Library.
Biography of Jassin, H. B., 1917-
Final edited version of Yang Duduk di Kursi Imaginasi/In the Court of the Imagination the biography of Hans Bague Jassin directed by Hanny R. Saputra. Hans Bague Jassin (1917-2000), more than any other writer, shaped the development of Indonesian literature. Because of his near-infallible judgment, he was known as “the Pope.” This film is the final edited version of the biography of Hans Bague Jassin filmed in Jakarta, Indonesia as part of the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series which features interviews with prominent Indonesian authors, poets and playwrights. This film is in Indonesian with English subtitles and transcripts in English and Indonesian are also available. About the On the Record: Indonesian Literary Figures series: in an effort to promote knowledge about Indonesian literature and its creators, Lontar has thus far produced 24 films on Indonesian writers. These films offer viewers a direct look at the people behind the books. We are able to hear, directly from the writers’ mouths, their reminiscences and their thoughts. Each film is approximately 24 - 29 minutes in length, additional raw footage is available through the Lontar Digital Library., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A090018.