Skip to Main Content

Filmography - Area Studies: South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania: Indonesia

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of January 2017

Area Studies: Indonesia

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of April 2011.

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library ALADIN catalog (

Note: Vietnam War and War on Terror (in Afghanistan) are addressed in specific filmographies on those topics. Feature films are also excluded from this list with the exception of a few that depict important historical events that aren’t well covered by documentaries (e.g. The Killing Fields).



Arms for the Poor: The Global Impact of the Weapons Industry. 2006. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Has the arms trade derailed America's national conscience? This program articulates a disturbing point of view: that for all its generosity and leadership, the world's wealthiest country is better known for a mammoth military budget that enriches weapons manufacturers and feeds destructive conflicts. Featuring appearances by several activists and dignitaries-including Elie Wiesel, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and the Dalai Lama-the film shows how the policies of the industrialized world often lead to poverty and suffering in the name of national interest.Indonesia's invasion of East Timor and Cambodia's land-mine plague provide instructive, albeit tragic, examples. Streaming video

Asia: Staking Out Terror's Breeding Grounds. 2004. 1 streaming video (41 min.). Unstable Southeast Asian countries with poorly equipped law enforcement agencies have become havens for terrorism; one example is the rise of the al Qaeda subgroup Jemaah Islamiya, which executed the 2002 Bali bombing. This program underscores the minimal attention that Asia has received in comparison with Middle East counterterrorist operations-and how the disparity negatively affected European and Australian intelligence preceding the Bali attack. The final episode in the Third World War series, this program evokes a sobering picture of al Qaeda's multifaceted nature. Original BBCW broadcast title: Asia-The Breeding Grounds. Streaming video

Asian Values Devalued. 1998. 1 streaming video (39 min.). As the tiger economies of East Asia turned from boom to bust in the 1990s, the general public was amazed, yet many economists nodded their heads knowingly. This program focuses on the plights of Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, where nepotism, cronyism, corruption, suppression, and the exploitation of cheap foreign labor brought about a financial crisis of enormous proportions. These regions grew too quickly without proper controls and economic safeguards, which has left the middle and lower classes, who are crushed by inflation and unemployment, to pay the bill. Experts agree that East Asia will survive, eventually recover, and probably surpass itself, but at a staggering cost in money and human misery. This program is an excellent expose that reveals why the bubble burst. Streaming video

Balinese requiem. Ethnographic video online. 2007. 1 streaming video (63 min.). In a Balinese village, families go to great trouble and expense for their extravagant cremation ceremony. They provide special food for mourners and offerings for the deceased. A shadow pupped show is performed, inheritances and distributed and musical processions of mourners walk the streets. The bones of the dead are uncovered, washed and arranged for cremation with accompanying prayer rites. During cremation, the village is filled with smoke from pyres shaped like bulls, as the souls of the dead are cleansed of impurity, then sent out to sea to continue their journey to heaven. The film documents and explains the intricacies of these funeral rites and Balinese-Hindu beliefs about death. Streaming video;764117

A Balinese trance seance & Jero on Jero. Ethnographic video online. 2004. 1 streaming video (47 min.). In a Balinese trance seance, Jero Tapakan, a spirit medium in a small, central Balinese village, consults with a group of clients in her shrine house. In Jero on Jero, anthropologist Linda Connor and filmmakers Tim and Patsy Asch return to Bali and present Jero with a videorecording of the previous film and elicit comments from her about the film and the experience of possession. Streaming video;763026

B.A.T.A.M. Ethnographic video online. 2005. 1 streaming video (45 min.). Follows the contrasting stories of two Indonesian female migrants--one a factory worker, the other a prostitute--on the Indonesian island of Batam. An official economy of the day, based in the factories, and an unofficial economy of the night, based on sex work, have developed together, increasing Batam's population from 3,000 to 700,000. As the two economies depend on female labor, the experiences of these two women illuminate the way in which multinational capitalism and migration interact in the shadowlands of globalization. Streaming video;764116

The Battle for Islam. 2005. 1 streaming video (63 min.). A far-reaching exploration of Islam after 9/11, this program follows renowned scholar Ziauddin Sardar on an eye-opening journey through Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Sardar interviews Muslims with widely varying political leanings-including Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, other government leaders, women's rights activists, and a cleric who promotes an extremely conservative form of Sharia. The program exposes the tension between pluralistic and hard-liner mentalities growing within the Muslim world, and concludes that moderation and tolerance, rather than zealotry and terror, will ensure the continued strength of the faith. A BBCW Production. Some interviews are in other languages with English subtitles. Streaming video

Burning Season: Indonesia and the Global Carbon Credit Market. 2008. 1 streaming video (57 min.). New studies show that the devastation of Indonesia's forests has helped to make the country the world's third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Can the trees be saved by selling their carbon credits? And if so, will small farmers whose livelihoods depend upon clearing the land reap a part of the profits? This Wide Angle report takes a balanced look at the concept and implementation of carbon credits, profiling both an entrepreneur championing the plan and a farmer who fears he will be adversely affected and unable to make ends meet. In addition, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack speaks with Aaron Brown about global warming and the need for America to innovate more aggressively-and to become a more responsible global citizen. Original broadcast title: Burning Season. Streaming video

A celebration of origins: Wai Brama, Flores, Eastern Indonesia, 1980. Ethnographic video online. 1992. 1 streaming video (45 min.). Creation myth, history, ritual, clan history, and religion in the Mahe Grove, Wai Brama, Flores, Eastern Indonesia. Filmmakers, E. Douglas Lewis and Patsy and Timothy Asch, filmed the people of Wai Brama in 1980 as they celebrated their rituals of origins. The film focuses on a small group of ritual leaders who struggle to hold the Celebration in the absence of the Source of the Domain, the ritual leader of the community, who died after initiating the rituals. Many of the important principles of order in the domain are manifested in the Celebration of Origins including those governing relations between men and women, human beings and the deity and spirits, and the clans and houses which constitute the domain. Streaming video;764044

The Diplomat: Jose Ramos Horta and East Timor's Fight for Independence. 2000. 1 streaming video (56 min.). For 24 years, Jose Ramos Horta, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, campaigned to secure independence for East Timor, a Portuguese colony invaded by Indonesia in 1975. This program takes up Ramos Horta's story in the final dramatic stages of his journey, including the fall of President Suharto, the referendum to determine East Timor's future, the overwhelming vote for independence, the carnage that ensued, the intervention of UN peacekeepers, and Ramos Horta's triumphant return to his beloved homeland. An in-depth interview with Ramos Horta, a detailed examination of the independence movement, and extensive war footage enhance this comprehensive retrospective. Streaming video

Genocide: The Horror Continues. 2001. 1 streaming video (57 min.). The late 20th century produced a sinister euphemism: ethnic cleansing.This program concludes a comprehensive survey of genocide by looking at the most recent examples in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey; Burundi and Rwanda; the former Yugoslavia; Indonesia and East Timor; and Chechnya. The role and efforts of the United Nations are discussed as well as what the future holds in trying to prevent genocide. Among many scholars, experts, and survivors interviewed are Jamsheed Marker, former U.S. Ambassador and negotiator to East Timor; Gregory H. Stanton, director of Genocide Watch; and Joseph Mutaboba, Rwandan Ambassador to the UN. Viewer discretion is advised. Streaming video

Indonesia at the Crossroads. 1998. 1 streaming video (35 min.). In Indonesia, activists seek to return their country to its traditional moral values after a period of rapid economic growth that resulted in rampant nepotism and corruption under President Suharto. As Muslim students and Hindu priests work to revitalize Indonesia while preserving a democratic ideal, this thought-provoking program provides an in-depth portrait of a country seeking to redefine itself within a historical context of religious tradition and tolerance. Streaming video

Islamic Resurgence and Holy War: The Former Soviet Union and Indonesia. 1999. 1 streaming video (53 min.). Over the last decade, Islam has swiftly grown in popularity-so much so that today one in every five people on Earth is a follower of Muhammad. But with this resurgence has come an increase in friction between Muslims and non-Muslims. Segment one of this program focuses on four divinity school students from Tatarstan who dropped out to join the jihad in Chechnya, while segment two tracks the efforts of President Abdurrahman Wahid to make peace between rioting Muslims and Christians on the Indonesian island of Ambon. Streaming video

The Islamic Wave. 2000. 1 streaming video (50 min.). Rising above the myths and misinformation surrounding Islam, one fact is clear: the Muslim religion is growing as never before. This program surveys the sociopolitical landscape of Islamic hotspots in the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, and elsewhere. Featuring commentary by General Pervez Musharraf, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Dr. Hasan al-Turabi, and other key figures, the balanced documentary provides background on the world's second-largest religion, examines Islam's increasing popularity, and considers the use of violence by Muslim extremists to attain their goals. Streaming video

John Pilger. 2006. 1 videodisc (204 min.). The Quiet Mutiny: John Pilger reveals the shifting morale and open rebellion of Western troops serving in Vietnam. Death of a nation: Pilger uncovers the shocking complicity of the US and Great Britain governments in the East Timor genocide the same governments who were willing to go to war with Saddam Hussein for his invasion of Kuwait, but who stood aside as Indonesia broke the exact same UN regulations to rape and pillage East Timor using Western arms. Inside Burma: John Pilger and David Munro go undercover in one of the world's most isolated, and extraordinary countries, Burma, which Amnesty International calls a prison without bars. They discover slave labour preparing for tourism and foreign investment. Welcome to Australia: With the run-up to the Sydney olympics, John Pilger and Alan Lowery take a studied look behind the hype and glamour surrounding the games. Australia's Aborigines remain excluded, impoverished and mistreated while their part in the brilliant history of Australia's sporting success disgracefully goes virtually unrecognized. DVD 6692

The Jungle Pharmacy: Nature's Remedy. 1995. 1 streaming video (27 min.). Do the world's rainforests contain a cure for cancer and AIDS? This intriguing program travels to Jakarta, Surabaya, and the jungles of Kalimantan to investigate the preparation and use of natural remedies to combat illnesses such as skin fungus, malaria, and even AIDS. But logging continues unabated, even as ethnobiologists from the National Cancer Institute and the Harvard Medical School scramble to quantify the curative properties of indigenous plants. Will the jungle pharmacy disappear before it can be understood? A Deutsche Welle Production. Streaming video

Margaret Mead: a portrait by a friend. Ethnographic video online. 2007. 1 streaming video (30 min.). French filmmaker Jean Rouch interviews AMNH anthropologist Margaret Mead. Mead speaks about her personal history, her family, her influences and mentors, and her field work in Bali, New Guinea, and Manus (also known as Great Admiralty Island). Mead and Rouch walk through the AMNH Hall of Pacific Peoples, and she discusses her theories about museum exhibits. They also visit the Dept. of Anthropology specimen storage area. Towards the conclusion of her interview, Mead considers the history of anthropology and speculates on its future role in building new cultures. Streaming video;764328

Margaret Mead: Coming of Age. 1990. 1 streaming video (52 min.). Although her fieldwork has been criticized, Margaret Mead was one of the foremost fieldworkers of her day. In the United States, Bali, and New Guinea, she examined child development, sex, and temperament to see what role society plays in making people what they are. She emphasized that humans arrange their social worlds in many different ways, and that qualitative judgments cannot be made between them. Streaming video

The medium is the masseuse: a Balinese massage ; Jero Tapakan, stories in the life of a Balinese healer.  Ethnographic video online. 1983. 1 streaming video (56 min.). Contains two of the four short ethnographic films which were made about the Balinese healer named Jero Tapakan. Streaming video;763929

No Vacancy: Global Responses to the Human Population Explosion. 2005. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (92 min.). With the population of the Earth poised to double within the next five decades, there is evidence that the pendulum of overpopulation is beginning to swing the other way. In this program, Population Communication's Robert Gillespie visits India, China, Mexico, Indonesia, Iran, Ghana, Nigeria, France, the U.S., and elsewhere to observe a fertility transition that may prove to be one of the most important elements in humankind's survival. Gillespie is joined by Paul Ehrlich; the presidents of World Watch Institute, Earth Policy Institute, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Population Council; and a host of others who have pledged to work toward population stabilization. An emotional and at times provocative portrait of global transformation. DVD 5565. Streaming video

Not the numbers game. WWF earth report. 1996. 1 videodisc (43 min.). Looks at how several developing countries have progressed in meeting the agreements signed at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development in which peoples' needs rather than population numbers were emphasized in discussions. Video contains six short segments that examine the conditions of women in these countries and their efforts to attain their dreams while dealing with pregnancy, poverty, lack of birth control, lack of education, genital mutilation, low social status, low paying industrial jobs, and other problems that make their lives difficult. DVD 4213

Promised Paradise. 2007. 1 videodisc (52 min.). "How can one believe that terrorism leads to heaven? Banned by the Indonesian government, this provocative documentary examines the psychology of extremism in a country with the largest Muslim population in the world. Promised Paradise, a new film from renowned documentary filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich, made international news earlier this year when Indonesian authorities suddenly banned it from screening at the Jakarta International Film Festival. The film follows a traditional Indonesian puppeteer and troubadour, the dynamic Agus Nur Amal, as he attempts to track down the terrorists who masterminded the 2002 Bali bombings (both living and dead). During the course of his journey, he exposes the atmosphere of intolerance and confusion that pervades his country..." -- DVD sleeve. DVD 4725

Releasing the spirits: a village cremation in Bali. Ethnographic video online. 1990. 1 streaming video (43 min.). About a group of villagers in Central Bali in who cooperated to carry out a group cremation in 1978. Shows the way they approached this task, including preparations as well as the cycle of rituals : the cremation, post-cremation, & casting of the ashes into the ocean. Most of the narration is by the four participants, recorded as they were watching videotapes of the ceremonies 2 years later. Streaming video;763778

Spear and sword: a ceremonial payment of bridewealth, the Island of Roti, Eastern Indonesia. Ethnographic video online. 1990. 1 streaming video (25 min.). Politics, ritual, and personality intermingle in negotiations between representatives of two families during a payment of bridewealth. Streaming video;763857

Stolen Childhoods. 2005. 1 streaming video (22 min.). An uncompromising look at child exploitation, this ABC News program features investigative filmmakers Len Morris and Robin Romano, who have exposed child labor operations around the globe. A gravel quarry in India, a Kenyan coffee plantation, a fishing platform on the Sea of Sumatra, even farms in the United States-the program shows how extensively these and other locations depend on child workers. With commentary from children risking reprisals in order to be heard, and from U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, who has sponsored numerous bills to combat child labor practices, the program clearly links a painful global reality with the complacency of Western society. Streaming video

Stolen childhoods. 2003. 1 videodisc (86 min.). "Stolen Childhood is a feature length documentary on child labor. The story is told in the words of laboring children, their parents, and the people working daily to help them. Children share their experiences of exploitation and their hopes for a better life and future ... Filmed in seven countries: Brazil, India, the United States, Mexico, Indonesia, Kenya and Nepal, stolen childhoods examines the cost of child labor to the global community, probes the causes of this complex phenomenon and recommends actions that can be taken to eliminate this gross human rights violation in our lifetime"--Container. DVD 5028

The Sultanate of Jogjakarta. 2002. 1 streaming video (53 min.). The Sultan of Jogjakarta, regarded by his people as the divine representative and intermediary between themselves and the supreme being, rules one of the last remaining kingdoms in Asia. This program explores the emotional bond between the sultan and the people as well as the cultural and religious traditions in Java through history. Streaming video

Taboo: Body Perfect. 2004. 1 streaming video (47 min.). How far should a person go to reshape his or her body? Is it natural, healthy, and wise to want to match a cultural ideal of beauty? Or is it the most foolhardy kind of narcissism? Is there a middle ground? This program shows how people around the world go to extremes to meet dramatically varying standards of physical attractiveness. Viewers encounter Mentawai women in Sumatra who file their teeth to sharp points, American men who get buttock implants, and Chinese men and women who have their legs surgically lengthened to make them taller. Streaming video

Taboo: Child Rearing. 2004. 1 streaming video (47 min.). It may be the single greatest cause of disagreement, and even moral disdain, between family members, neighbors, and entire nationalities-but the way we raise our children is also tied to deeply ingrained beliefs and traditions. This program examines the subject, focusing on wide disparities between cultures in the matter of parenting and child-rearing. From India's Tihar prison, where some inmates raise their sons and daughters behind bars, to Sumatra, where children experience an unusual degree of freedom, the video presents eye-opening cultural contrasts. Streaming video

Taboo: Sacred Pains. 2004. 1 streaming video (41 min.). Among the many religions of the world one can still clearly observe the shamanic imperative to enter the realm of the sacred-and some practitioners will do whatever it takes to reach that elevated state. This program looks at rites and rituals designed to achieve spiritual awakening through physical pain and bodily injury. A village in Nepal welcomes the New Year with a tongue-boring ceremony. In Bali, the faithful turn knives against their own bodies. And in Thailand, some religious devotees climb ladders with razor-sharp steps to please their deities. Streaming video

The Timber Mafia: The Economics of Deforestation. 2002. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (45 min.). In countries such as Brazil, Cameroon, Cambodia, and the Philippines, organized timber rackets are booming, selling rare wood illegally cut from national parks and nature preserves. Such mercenary deforestation threatens countless species and has already changed global weather patterns. Often filmed covertly, this program goes inside the illegal timber traffic in Indonesia, examining the profits and attendant corruption, as well as exposing ongoing logging operations. Economics of the trade and countermeasures are discussed by key figures and experts, including the Indonesian Forestry Minister, the U.K. Environment Minister, and members of the Environmental Investigation Agency, Malaysian Timber Council, and Worldwide Fund for Nature. DVD 1152. Streaming video

Water for Profit. 2003. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (27 min.). The moment demand outpaces supply, water becomes a commodity to be traded in the global market. But who owns the rights to water? And how can a price be set on water? In this program, the pros and cons of privatization are assessed in a number of water management situations around the world: Aguas Argentina in Buenos Aires; the Bechtel corporation in Cochabamba, Bolivia; Thames Water company in Jakarta; and a public/private test partnership in Albania. Corporate representatives, anti-privatization activists, farmers, and industry experts offer commentary from all sides of the issue. DVD 1838. Streaming video

Water for the Cities. 2003. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (27 min.). This program takes a hard look at the mounting challenge of providing millions of people in urban areas with potable water and adequate disposal of waste water. To highlight the difficulties, segments focus on the water problems of the megalopolis, cities with populations of over ten million people, such as Lagos, Jakarta, and Mexico City. The massive logistics that enable Las Vegas to prosper in the middle of a desert are also explored. DVD 1836. Streaming video

Why Women Count: Video Clip Collection Southeast Asia, Pacific, Caribbean, Latin America. 2008. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (56 min.). Filmed in 11 countries, this collection of video segments spotlights Lydia Cacho, Casimira Rodriguez, and 14 other women who are making a difference in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Latin America. DVD 4629. Streaming video

The year of living dangerously. 2000. 1 videodisc (115 min.). Guy Hamilton, an ambitious Australian reporter on his first overseas assignment, is befriended by a Eurasian cameraman, Billy Kwan, with connections in high places.  Hamilton soon gains an entree to Indonesian Communist Party leaders, as well as insight into Jakarta's grim realities on the eve of a major political upheaval. Includes theatrical trailer. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 295