by Andari Saraswati Antono
For the first time, I’ll be going to a movie premiere, and I’m all excited! Sure, there’s interest by default in a movie that literally reminds me of home. But more substantially, I’m intrigued because cin(T)a – the movie I’m talking about – boldly treads on a delicate subject many Indonesians still refrain from speaking of, let alone dealing with: a love between two people who call God by different names.
To those who are not quite familiar with the Indonesian fabric: this is a place so diverse that averages are practically useless (search “Indonesia” on Wikipedia and you’ll know what I mean). That we manage to co-exist happily (for the most part, at least) is perhaps a miracle taken for granted.
Yet love, relationships and marriages are seen through a different lens when it involves more than one faith. No, we don’t practice religions to the same level of piety, but religion still is an integral part of the Indonesian life and spirituality is still something embedded deeply in the Indonesian psyche … something a lot of us want to hang on to.
Of course we can’t accuse anyone who holds firmly to their belief of being intolerant — everyone has the right to believe in what is right for them. But it doesn’t make it easy for interfaith couples to find a common ground. Even if couples can get past this hurdle, families on both sides often have a non-negotiable conviction that one should marry only within the same religion. As marriages in Indonesia is never only about two people, but about two clans meshing together, interfaith union is tricky business indeed. And some kind of a taboo, although I suspect there are more stories out there than anyone would admit.
Now cin(T)a is raising a voice on a traditionally hushed cause for conversation. I’ve yet to see it at the premiere, so I don’t know how far it deals with a potentially nerve-touching matter. But at least it promises a dialogue; if resolution is impossible then I’m happy that at least someone is asking all the profound questions. I hope they would be the start of many, many open-minded conversations.