PROMISED PARADISE. Directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich, with Agus Nur Amal. Auckland, New Zealand: Smiley Film Sales, 2006. In Indonesian with English subtitles. cinemaguild.com, $325. Agus Nur Amal (b. 1969) is a Jakarta-based comical storyteller, puppeteer, performance artist, and media personality, born in Aceh, Indonesia, and trained in modern theatre at Institut Kesenian Jakarta (IKJ, or Jakarta Arts Institute). Agus has been active in peace campaigns in Jakarta and Aceh since 1999 and assumed national prominence as a television commentator in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. His stock in trade is a modernized form of a rare southwestern Acehnese storytelling genre known as dangedria, which he researched after graduating from IKJ. Agus performs under the nom de stage of PM Toh, after the most famous dangedria artist in living memory, now deceased, who took his own stage name from a bus stop. Dutch filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich's provocative fifty-two minute documentary Promised Paradise depicts Agus's travels around Java and Bali in 2004 2005 as he creates various performative interventions around themes of Islam, violence, and difference. It weaves together a number of strands of Agus's work with footage of Teater Mandiri, one of Jakarta's leading theatre companies,
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jan 26, 2010
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