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Free Content Coklat Stroberi: an Indonesian romance in three flavours

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This article focuses on the 2007 Indonesian film Coklat Stroberi and its accompanying novel and pop video. The novel by Christian Simamora was based on the film script. The song 'Di sini untukmu' was written especially for the film, in which the band Ungu made a cameo appearance, and the accompanying pop video features numerous scenes from it. While in recent years quite a number of Indonesian films have featured gay characters, this film is notable for the fact that it puts a gay relationship at the very centre of a romantic comedy, and is clearly aimed at a young (17–25) audience. Coklat Stroberi is undoubtedly trying to show same-sex relationships in a progressive light. Nonetheless, the representation of the characters and the film's final outcome highlight an ambivalent attitude towards homosexuality that is common in many Indonesian films. This article pays particular attention to those ambivalences and explores how our understanding of them is enhanced by analysing the transformation of the film into the genres of novel and pop video. Attention is also paid to an apparent mismatch in the filmic imagination of gay characters and the reality of gay lives as they are lived in Indonesia today.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • South East Asia Research publishes articles based on original research or fieldwork on all aspects of South East Asia within the disciplines of archaeology, art history, economics, geography, history, language and literature, law, music, political science, social anthropology and religious studies. This peer-reviewed journal is published four times per year by IP Publishing in cooperation with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). SOAS is the leading centre in this field in Europe and one of the most prestigious centres of South East Asian Studies in the world.

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