An interview with the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta


In our new magazine, Bram attended a screening of two Nordic films in Indonesia and then surveyed the audience on what they thought of the films. In a follow up, he spoke with Hana Cerenkova, the first Secretary at the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta to better understand what audiences as far as Indonesia think about Nordic Noir.

You can read the survey results in issue 10 of our magazine.

Bram: A few weeks after EoS, I conducted a survey intended for viewers of any of the two films and found out that this year’s EoS in Bali was not just their first taste of Nordic noir but also Nordic cinema. While the survey may not reflect an accurate pattern due to its small sample size but with a remark that Pioneer, one of the first Nordic noir films to be introduced to Indonesian moviegoers, was “confusing”, do you think that it is a bad sign for films, TV series & literature of this genre from being further exposed to more Indonesians? If so, why? And will it hinder more Nordic noir films from Norway (e.g. Varg Veum movie series or the upcoming Harry Hole movie series) from being screened in Indonesia be it in future EoS or in a wider theatrical release?

Hana: We were pleased that so many people came to see Pioneer at this year’s Europe on Screen. It was screened in Bali, Jakarta, Medan and Bandung and was watched by 264 people in total. For many, it was the first Norwegian film they had seen, so we think it’s great that so many people could get a first glimpse of Norwegian culture and history by watching Pioneer. Pioneer portrays an important period in the history of Norway, the beginning of the “oil age”.  Hopefully the Indonesian audience appreciates a plot that is a bit complex and not entirely straight forward. I eventhink this is one of the strengths of the Nordic noir genre: the plots are full of unexpected twists and turns which keeps the audience on their toes, but it is still possible to grasp relatively easily. Hopefully the slightly more complex storyline makes the books and films in this genre even more rewarding and entertaining!

 Slightly unrelated to EoS, I noticed that Jo Nesbø’s books which most of them would be classified as Nordic noir literature are available at some Indonesian bookshops such as Periplus. I believe one of his book adaptation, Headhunter, was screened during EoS a few years back. Unfortunately, I have never seen any of his works translated into Indonesian (yet). The books are here but they are probably catered towards the expats & tourist markets. Do you think the lack of translation may contribute to the lack of understanding & appreciation of the Nordic noir genre that resulted in the “confusing” remark & the lack of debate afterwards? If so, why?

Jo Nesbø is one of the most widely read authors worldwide, so we are happy to see that his books are available in Indonesia too. Of course his books reach a far wider audience if they were available in Bahasa Indonesia. Jo Nesbø actually visited Indonesia in 2013 and met many passionate Indonesian crime fictions readers. The screening of the film Headhunters (based on the Nesbø book with the same title) at Europe on Screen 2013 also clearly showed that Indonesians are very interested in Nesbø and Nordic Noir, despite the many surprising twists in the plot of that film and book. After Nesbø’s visit to Indonesia, a process of translating his books into Bahasa Indonesia started. The translation has been completed, so we hope that his books will soon be available to an even bigger Indonesian audience in Bahasa Indonesia.

CategoriesInterviews Norway
Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.