YIDFF 2009 New Asian Currents
Crescent Moon Over the Sea
An Interview with Yuli Andari (Director)

Some Have Changed, Others Have Remained

Q: Why did you choose the Makkadia family to shoot how the people on the island of Bungin are leaving their traditional lifestyle behind? Also, can you tell me how you met them?

YA: When I was still a second year student in high school, I went to the island of Bungin to do an interview for our school wall newspaper. The father of the Makkadia family showed me a flag that has been inherited in the Bajo people. There was no accommodation on the island back then, so he let me stay at his house. That’s how I met the Makkadia family.

Ten years later, when I visited this island again to shoot this film, I was surprised to see how much the island had changed. For example, the only transportation available between the island and mainland was boats back then, but there is a bridge and the people on the island can come and go by bike. However, during this long shoot, I discovered that the island is not the only thing that has been changing. The Makkadia family has also been going through a variety of transformations. That left a big impression on me. The eldest son ran for the village office and started working on new political issues for the island. The second eldest son worked as an old style fisherman but had a lot of financial trouble. The third son was torn between becoming a fisherman in the future and starting a new business using the skills he learned in school. I found this contrast among those three brothers intriguing. I had made journalistic documentaries for TV, but I wanted to take a personal perspective on the subject and look at the family as if I was one of its members.

Q: What was your intention in naming the film as Crescent Moon Over the Sea?

YA: The name of the island, Bungin, basically means an island that is made of white sand accumulated on coral reefs. This island also looks like a crescent from above and it is also located in the middle of ocean. That led me to think of this title.

The Bajo people are wavering between two eras. I think that traditions will be buried unless you make an effort to protect them. The house on the island of Bungin may sink under the sea some day. It’s also a metaphor for the fact that their traditional lifestyle has been disappearing from the island like the moon wanes over time.

Q: There are scenes where the father gives his son some money and people talk about money in the gathering for the village head election. Seeing those scenes, I have this question that if there is a kind of preoccupation with money spreading on the island of Bungin.

YA: Yes, there is. That’s clear that if I look back at the years I visited the island: 1997, 2003 and 2007. When I went there in 1997, the only transportation available was motor boats. They let me on without charge saying “Don’t worry about paying. You came all the way to our island to shoot our life,” and treated me like their family member. However, when I visited in 2003, the people started giving you a better service if you paid. Furthermore, when I went to shoot in 2007, as you see in the election for the village head, a preoccupation with money was deeply embedded in their mind.

The father of the Makkadia family tries hard to gather money for his son since he loves him. Why I used that scene at the beginning of the film is because I want the audience to see the contrast between the father’s love for his son and the greed of the village people presented in the election for the village head.

(Compiled by Tanaka Yoshimi)

Interviewers: Tanaka Yoshimi, Tanaka Kayako / Interpreter: Fukase Chie / Translator: Okazaki Ikuna
Photography: Hiroya Motoko / Video: Kudo Rumiko / 2009-10-09