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Position Among the Stars (2010)

Stand van de Sterren (original title)
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Position among the Stars, the final part of a trilogy, follows the award- winning documentaries Eye of the Day and Shape of the Moon (Joris Ivens Award IDFA 2004 - World Cinema Documentary ... See full summary »
5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Position among the Stars, the final part of a trilogy, follows the award- winning documentaries Eye of the Day and Shape of the Moon (Joris Ivens Award IDFA 2004 - World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize Sundance 2005). Through the eyes of grandmother Rumidjah, a poor old Christian woman living in the slums of Jakarta, we see the economical changing society of Indonesia and the influence of globalization reflected in the life of her juvenile granddaughter Tari and her sons Bakti and Dwi. Director and DOP Leonard Retel Helmrich follows this family in a unique way with his breathtaking Single Shot Cinema-technique. Without interviews and voice-overs, Leonard will bring you closer to Indonesia than you will ever get. Written by Anonymous

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16 September 2011 (USA)  »

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Referenced in The Smallest Red Carpet, But the Biggest Heart (2011) See more »

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Funny, troubling and familiar...a great film about Indonesia and universal themes.
24 January 2012 | by See all my reviews

I'm not going to debate whether or not this is a "documentary." Because there must obviously be some scripting, in some ways it probably more closely resembles (shudder) so-called reality TV. But I don't mean to denigrate it in any way by that observation. Essentially, this film is the third in a trilogy that follows a three-generation family over the course of many years, documenting their little and big squabbles and the events that unfold in their lives.

Without getting too much into the plot, this third film's focus seems to be on Tari, the granddaughter who is graduating from high school. It's true that some of the characters aren't 100% likable, but really, who is always likable? Having watched all three films, I found it interesting how most of the characters didn't change at all - the exception being Tari.

van de Sterren has the eye of a photographer coupled with the soul of a storyteller. There's definitely a very composed look to each shot and often it is very breathtaking and vivid. He also seamlessly weaves together related stories/vignettes with beautiful visual transitions so that the whole film feels like a coherent whole despite there not really being a traditional plot. I really loved how there would often be a visual comparison between the human behavior & then cut to a similar insect or animal behaviors. I found this to be not only very tongue-in-cheek but also a nice way to provide a very subtle commentary without talking down to the audience. His humor provided a nice contrast to some of the grim, depressing realities of life in Indonesia.

I lived in Jakarta many years ago and the film is very true-to-life. In fact, it brought back not only memories, but the cadence, smells and ethos of the country. Impressive.


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