Mother (Emma) VIFF

One of the many reasons I love VIFF films is all of the travel you can do . . . from your theatre seat. This was true of this film as I was able to visit Indonesia for the first time. Mother (Emma) successfully brings culture, religion, customs, food, landscape (and more!) up close and personal for a heartfelt experience. I was also blessed to be interviewed (photo above) for a testimonial after the screening by co-producer Muhammad Zaidy, also from Indonesia.

Screenwriter and director Riri Riza pays attention to every detail as he exposes the practice of polygamy in Muslim culture and the effects it has on the family members involved. This film focuses in particular on the mother (wife #1) and her eldest son. Riza does a fabulous job of exemplifying the important role that mothers play in families, and the intense bond a mother and son share.

Riza takes this film from the pages of a novel — written about the Vice President of Indonesia! His character is the son in the film. It is a fascinating story of his life growing up, which no doubt contributed to this man’s resilience and to his accomplishments (and from his mother’s encouragement, support and role modelling, of course 🙂 )

Q&A following (which Riza himself was able to attend):

One of the challenges faced? “Novels have a bigger canvas. Film must be well thought out in regards to where to start and where to end.”

Polygamy was common from the 1930s to the ’70s in Indonesia for Muslims. Is it an acceptable practice still today? See this film and decide for yourself. The impact of this religious tradition has many layers which to experience.