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The Land Beneath the Fog

Documentary Film
105 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Shalahuddin Siregar, STUDIOKECIL
Shalahuddin Siregar
Shalahuddin Siregar
Shalahuddin Siregar, Fajar Kurniawan
Tommy Fahrizal
Land behind the fog, what an enchanting title. But be careful. It’s actually a pretty trap set by the filmmaker, because the life of the farmers of Genikan, a remote village somewhere in the mountains of Central Java in Indonesia, is no fairytale. Even if everything can be grown here and the people could live well. But the rainy season lasts longer every time. The dry season was far too early this year and too hot. There’s something going on with the seasons that the farmers can’t understand. The Indonesian filmmaker Shalahuddin Sireggar observed several families in Genikan over a period of two years and in the process came across the consequences of climate change. Unspectacular, observant and with a great sense of a narrative rhythm that corresponds to the old-fashioned sense of time of this place, Shalahuddin Siregar portrays a community that threatens to fall apart because of inexplicable weather phenomena. Whole harvests are lost. It’s true that the people are traditionally willing to help each other, but what if more and more of them earn less and less? The children are the first to suffer the consequences: since there is no more money for school fees, they are sent to Islam schools. These may be worse than public schools but they are cheaper. To learn what? Or perhaps go straight to the mines? The land behind the fog is gradually unveiled through the young filmmaker’s observations and we discover a site of the global crisis. We know about this place but prefer to leave it where it always was – behind a dense wall of media fog, waste recycling and biofuel. If only we had the courage to look more closely.
– Matthias Heeder