Indonesia elects 'President' for Oscars

Political film a first for playwright and political activist

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HONG KONG -- "Jamila dan sang Presiden" ("Jamila and the President") a prison-set drama about injustice and child trafficking, will represent Indonesia as candidate for the foreign-language Oscar.

The film's selection was announced Wednesday by the Indonesian Film & TV Producers Association.

"Jamila" is the first time film by Ratna Sarumpaet, who is better known as a political activist, playwright and stage director. The film is an adaptation of her play "The Prostitute and the President," which provoked a wave of controversy in Indonesia and was banned in many regions. The film, which stars Atiqah Hasiholan and Indonesia's best known actress Christine Hakim, however, was passed for theatrical release without censorship.

The story follows a prostitute who admits to killing a high ranking minister, but refuses legal representation or to plead for clemency. Sentenced to death, Jamila become a cause célèbre and one that the government is forced to react to.

The film, which screened this week at the Bangkok festival, was produced by Raam Punjabi's MVP Pictures.
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