Arts and Culture
As conflict-ridden areas in Indonesia, Aceh and Ambon have witnessed the gradual disappearance of local memories due to tremendous social and political upheavals in the last two decades. While there are different contours of conflicts in Aceh and Ambon, local communities in both areas have suffered immense traumas. They are haunted by past religious and political conflicts, which cannot be completely forgotten. Meanwhile, heavily commercial-oriented and politically partisan local (mainstream) media are unable to sensibly voice the post conflict problems in Aceh and Ambon communities, but rather delving into banality of mundane local politics and ephemeral social issues. Furthermore, local governments lack capability to recognize the real problems within society, since they remain entangled with pragmatic political transactions or brokerage as an extension of regional elections. In this backdrop, documentary practices by independent film communities have become a crucial attempt to revive local memories in Aceh and Ambon through film production, distribution and exhibition at the grassroots level and beyond. Through strategic alliance with other civil society organizations, documentary filmmakers in Aceh and Ambon not only have opened up a space for act of remembering, but it also rehabilitated the agency of local people in reconstructing their collective memories. Therefore, this paper seeks to explore some potentialities and challenges of documentary film as a vehicle for public expression as well as social transformations in Aceh and Ambon, particularly through reviving local memories where highly intricate and interlinked local issues shape social imaginary and sense of community in post conflict society.