OH BROTHER OCTOPUS
GERMANY — INDONESIA 27 MIN
The sea nomads of Indonesia believe that with every newborn there is a twin brother in the form of an octopus. Rituals are carried out to appease the brother in the water and prevent misfortunes. When dishonor occurs, Jakarta is portrayed as the apocalyptic revenge of the brother octopus.
After his degree in audiovisual media in 2010 he trained six locals from the Khayelitsha township in South Africa in documentary filmmaking and directed the 360° video installation Shack Theatre. In 2012 he studied documentary directing at the EICTV in Cuba and founded his film production company Highway Spirit. Florian lived for one year in Indonesia, researching and shooting his latest documentary Oh Brother Octopus. At the moment he is taking part in the postgraduate program of the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne.
Most of the Bajo sea nomads have settled in houses on stilts in the Malay Archipelago. When I was visiting the Kaledupa Island, one of the first things I learnt was the legend of the Octopus. The locals believe that when a mother gives birth, if her child is a ‚chosen one‘ then she also gives birth to a twin brother in the form of an octopus who becomes their life-long companion, communicating with the child through dreams.
In the day to day reality of living on a remote island, I also saw that some of the community members were forced to hunt the octopus in order to sell it and make living. I was drawn to this phenomenon of how the functions of a capatilist civilization have reached the shores of the most remote communities of Indonesia and have impacted on its culture.
During this time, I was living in Indonesia for a year and was mostly based in Jakarta. Compared to Wakatobi Islands, the mega city appeared to me like a dystopic, urban environment, where avoiding pollution and traffic takes up a big part of the day. Despite this apocalyptic environment people still hunt and gather, only now it is for rubbish instead of sea urchins.
Recently the Indonesian Government gave way to a 40 billion Dollar project that aims to build a giant sea wall 20km out in the ocean, off the coast of Jakarta. Dozens of artificial islands will be constructed. It is a move back to living on the ocean. But who will be able to afford this new artifical existance?
For the rubbish-hunting men of Jakarta, this new start remains an untouchable way of life.
- Berlinale — Shorts Competition, Germany 2017
- Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Czech Republic 2017
- Festival dei Popoli, Italy 2017
- Astra Film Festival, Romania 2017
- German Short Film Prize LOLA for Best documentary, Germany 2017
- Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival, Indonesia 2017
- Miradas Doc, Spain 2018
DOKer 2018 — Short Competition