Germany and Indonesia A Festival of Friendship

Cinematic opener:
Cinematic opener: Metropolis with musicians from Babelsberg | Photo: Ramos Pane

This year, Indonesia will have an additional season: a German one. For three months, Indonesia and Germany will celebrate a long friendship. The multifaceted programme launched with a silent film classic that was all but silent.

The German Season offers a diversified cultural programme as well as events about science and politics. Choirs from Germany and Indonesia will unite their voices and perform together, Indonesian artists and their German counterparts will create new works together, while children and adults learn more about science in an entertaining way. There will also be seminars and conferences focussing on the current political and economic situations of the two countries. The German Season is an initiative of the Federal Foreign Office in Germany and is presented by the Goethe-Institut, the German Embassy in Jakarta and EKONID, the German-Indonesian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

One of the highlights already took place last Saturday at the opening: Fritz Lang’s silent film classic Metropolis. Although the movie is one of the older representatives of German film (shot in 1925 and 1926) it was a premiere. Not only was it the first showing of the original version of Metropolis in Indonesia, in addition sixty musicians from the Babelsberg Film Orchestra came all the way from Germany to accompany what is probably the first science fiction film ever made. The official screening at Teater Jakarta was accompanied by a live broadcast on the theatre’s front yard.

Another musical highlight of the German Season that can be experienced over the coming months in a number of Indonesian cities is the joint project by the Rundfunkchor Berlin with choirs in Jakarta, Bandung and Medan. The Indonesian and German singers developed a programme together and rehearsed pieces from the German Romantic period (by Schubert, Brahms and Schumann), a contemporary composition and examples of Indonesian choir music.

A residency programme that invited German authors to Indonesia prior to the German Season promoted a literary exchange. For four weeks, writers such as Leif Randt and Andreas Stichmann travelled through the urban centres Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Makassar where they came into contact with local authors and held readings at the literature festival in Makassar as well as at universities and schools.

The German Season will also bring game designers from Germany and Indonesia together. During a one-week workshop they will be able to discuss their work with one another and also develop ideas for games and apps, for example for Indonesian students in Germany or for use in language lessons.