This article was first published in film.culture360.org, a website that connects Asia and Europe through film, on January 3, 2013.
About Lewat Djam Malam
Usmar Ismail’s Lewat Djam Malam (After the Curfew) is a classic 1954 Indonesian film set in the aftermath of the revolution that brought an end to the Dutch colonial rule. While obscure to most people unfamiliar with the history of Indonesian cinema, to many Indonesian film aficionados, it is regarded as one of the best—if not the best—Indonesian films. In May 2012, after a long and arduous restoration project, it was screened at the opening of Cannes Classic.
Yet, a couple of years ago, the remaining reels of Lewat Djam Malam were threatened into degeneration inside the vault of Sinematek Indonesia.
It is a condition shared by almost 3,000 other Indonesian film titles kept inside the non-profit film archive, where tropical, hot and humid environment quickly ruins delicate material. At least once a year some newspaper or magazine bemoans the dismal condition of Sinematek Indonesia. According to Lisabona Rahman, the manager of the Kineforum Program, who is currently taking her Master’s degree in film preservation in Amsterdam, not more than 10% of these titles were in an acceptable condition.
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