Family Victim is part of a series of ethnographic films on severe mental illness in Indonesia, based on material drawn from 12 years of person-centered research by director and anthropologist Robert Lemelson. The film focuses on Estu Wardhani, a young Javanese man from a highly respected family. Initially, Lemelson focuses on Estu's neuropsychiatric symptoms. Over time, interviews with Estu, his family, and traditional healers, who describe him as "different," "hardheaded," "lazy," "spoiled," "psychopathic," and controlled by a spirit, reveal a more complex dynamic as his erratic behavior worsens and his marriage deteriorates. Only after the illness and death of his father and the birth of his second daughter does Estu begin to "live properly." Family Victim addresses the universal issue of how families and communities interpret and attempt to control the behavior of troubled and troublesome members. Family Victim examines the bi-directional influences between an individual considered...
The 'bad coconut' of a Javanese family
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There are voices that speak in my heart... which repeat inside myself which protest and tell me, "you have to do this... this... this..."
because of the voices here, saying, "You have to do this... I ask the voice to shut up, but it keeps talking. Up until now. I feel there's another 'me'. Now I hate him so much. The one who is bad. Who is coward... If only he was in the form of a human being, I'd fight him. He makes me unsuccessful, a failure. Not like what I want.