Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

Position among the Stars 2010

Stand van de sterren

Directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich

This marvellously cinematic doco observes the inter-generational struggles of one Indonesian family. Best Doc, Sundance 2010. “Crucial viewing, this masterpiece is nothing short of breathtaking.” — Hot Docs

Indonesia / The Netherlands In Indonesian with English subtitles
109 minutes


Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich


Ismail Fahmi Lubish
Leonard Retel Helmrich


Jasper Naaijkens
Jos Driessen


Danang Faturahman
Fahmy Al-Attas


Rumidjah Sjamsuddin
Theresia Untari
Bachtiar Becker
Bagus Nur Alam


Amsterdam Documentary 2010; Sundance, San Francisco 2011


Best Film, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2010
Special Jury Prize (World Cinema Documentary), Sundance Film Festival 2011


This marvellous documentary encapsulates an amazing amount of what shapes the world today by observing the inter-generational struggles of one Indonesian family. As dynamically cinematic as any fiction feature on the programme, it has been winner in the last year of top honours at both Sundance and the Amsterdam Documentary Festival.

Grandmother Rumidjah, a devout Christian woman from the countryside, is summoned to Jakarta by her sons to attend her granddaughter Tari’s high school graduation. The old woman is convinced that a university education for the girl is the family’s only hope of escaping the slums. The old woman’s values, already undermined by her sons’ largely pragmatic conversion to Islam, are constantly assailed by the bratty material girl; but Grandma’s prepared to pay a high price to see things done the right way. Director Leonard Retel Helmrich has made three films over 12 years about Rumidjah and her family. If you saw the earlier Shape of the Moon (NZIFF05), you’ll be prepared for the ebullience and lyricism of Retel Helmrich’s camera, but no prior acquaintance is required to be captivated by the people and issues at play in his moving, beautiful film. — BG

“Retel Helmrich’s revolutionary cinematography immerses us in the rich textures of their lives: long takes in continual motion glide so fluidly through moments saturated with meaning that the astonishing visuals seem organic… Crucial viewing, this masterpiece is nothing short of breathtaking.” — Gisèle Gordon, Hot Docs