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Anak-Anak SrikandiAnak-Anak Srikandi
(Children of Srikandi)

A film by Children of Srikandi Collective
74 Minutes, color, Indonesia/Germany, 2012

This film is available for public screenings.
Please send your inquiry to info@outcast-films.com 

Short synopsis:

The mythical figure of Srikandi, a female figure from the Indian Mahabharata epic that changes gender to live and fight as an equal among men, is the inspiration and role model for this anthology of stories on the state of alternate sexualities in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.  The result is eight highly personal and profound perspectives on lesbian, bisexual and trans-identity life in Islamic Indonesia.

View the Trailer:

Long synopsis:

In CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI, participants collectively worked as crew members or actresses in each other’s film, with individual stories ranging from observational documentary and concept art to personal essay. We see that change is possible on all levels of the film: personal, political, and formal. Transformation is always inscribed in the narrative; form and identity are fluid; perspectives are shifted.

The moving individual stories are interwoven with the tale of Srikandi, an ancient mythological character of the Mahabharata and well-known Indian epic, which is still frequently used in the traditional Javanese shadow puppet theatre plays (wayang kulit). Srikandi is neither man nor woman, moving fluidly between both genders. When she falls in love with a woman, she has to understand that the only way to survive is to become a “female warrior”. This story reminds us that same-sex love and gender variety were not imported from the west but in fact form a deep and ancient aspect of Indonesian society.
Soleh (25), the puppeteer and Anik (59), the singer, are both male to female transgendered people that have worked for many years as wayang kulit performers in Surabaya, East Java. In the film, Srikandi is embodied and represented by them as an inverted mirror image where the narrative of the wayang kulit moves from fiction to documentary and from the past into the present.

CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI started with a workshop which lead to a collaborative film project reflecting the directors’ lived experiences as queer women in Indonesia and at the same time provides them with the means for filmic self-representation. Over a period of two years and under the guidance of filmmakers Angelika Levi and Laura Coppens, the filmmaking became a truly collective act.


what they're saying


"As stated on its website, CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI is “the first film by queer women about queer women from Indonesia.” In addition to the crucial issues addressed… the transnational collaborative processes should be underlined as they would potentially lead to more affiliations and exchanges on gender and sexuality issues in a wider cinematic and social landscape.

The film’s tagline, “breaking the code of silence,” is not an overstatement since silence was (and is still) pervasive. Hence, despite the limited space for exploration, the filmmakers have courageously presented their views on various issues, ranging from the memory of growing up as queer, the tension with their families and religion, and confining labels given in the society (as well as within their own lesbian circles). The value of CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI lies in its process, of “coming out” as a collective, and within it filmmakers help one another as actors and collaborators."

Intan Paramaditha, Pacific Affairs: Volume 86, No. 4 – December 2013

CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI adds an incredibly valuable perspective to anyone interested in women's issues and queer issues in Southeast Asia. Since the film looks at a part of Indonesian life and society that is often hidden from view, it is an eye-opening experience and very helpful in expanding our discussions about religion, identity and private life. “

Sarah Maxim, Vice Chair, Center for Southeast Asia Studies, UC Berkeley

"A fabulous viewing/seeing/ and thinking of the complexities and fluidities of women's bodies and identities across cultural borders. An important and courageous sharing for us all as we attempt to live peacefully and newly across this globe."

Zillah Eisenstein, Ithaca College, author “Sexual Decoy” and “Against Empires”

"CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI - collaborative, ethnographically rich, and theoretically sophisticated - is visual anthropology at its very best! Conceived of and filmed by eight queer Indonesians, Children of Srikandi provides intimate auto-ethnographic insights into the politics, predicaments, and possibilities of queer life in post-authoritarian Indonesia. Beautifully shot and edited, the film alternates between personal stories of daily lives and broader themes of politics, religion, and nation. This film should be required viewing forundergraduate and graduate courses in cultural anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, film/media studies and Asian studies."

James B. Hoesterey , Emory University, Board Member, Commission for Visual Anthropology (CVA)

“Intercut with evocative Indonesian shadow theatre and poetic stories, CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI is a poignant film which explores gender, sexuality, class and religiosity through the voices of queer women in Indonesia. Using the mythological figure of Srikandi as a beacon for transgendered people we are reminded of the fluidity of gender through art and compelling personal narratives. “

Nandini Sikand, Assistant Professor, Lafayette College, Film and Media Studies

CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI is the exact film that should emerge from contemporary queer Indonesia, where homosexuality is technically legal yet remains taboo. With its eight chapters each shot in a different mode, by eight different first-time filmmakers, but connected through the traditional wayang kulit (shadow theater), CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI creatively and articulately engages the complexity and dynamism of Indonesians’ attitudes toward questions of gender, sexuality, kinship, and embodiment.

Brian Bergen-Aurand Assistant Professor English and Film School of Humanities and Social Sciences Nanyang Technological University

“This film gives a unique and moving insight into the lives and dreams of members of one of the most abjected groups in Indonesia, young lesbian women. Telling their own stories, of love and pain, they demonstrate their courage and perseverance. “

Saskia Wieringa, University of Amsterdam