Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is something of an attraction to transgender people. Renita lives in Jakarta in a tiny space that doubles as her hairdressing salon. Local women and children come here to have their hair done, and she has a lot of friends who are also transgender. Relaxing on mats and cushions, they discuss politics, being transgender in Jakarta, cosmopolitan life as they imagine it should be, and the latest fashions. Life moves peacefully along, without too many ups and downs. But Renita, or Reni as she is known, used to be Mohammad Zein – back when he lived with his parents in the city of Palu. Twenty years ago, his father presented him with an ultimatum: either you are a man, or you are not my son. Reni has not seen her family or birthplace since, but now she wants to go back there. In this documentary, director Tonny Trimarsanto and Reni engage in occasional conversation with one another, although the director is never a real presence. The film is a highly intimate peek into the complicated life of a transgender person, in which the filmmaker plays a modest role.
– IDFA Institute
about the director
Tonny Trimarsanto is a filmmaker, cultural activist, educator, and film workshop facilitator. He completed his studies in Political Science, and a Masters in film. He is also a postgraduate teaching staff at ISI Surakarta and the Jogja Film Academy. As a film director and producer, his films have been screened and won awards at various international film festivals. The film Bulu Mata, won the Citra Award at Indonesian Film Festival (2017) for the category of Best Documentary Feature. Serambi (2005) — a collaborative film by four directors — is his first documentary feature film and was screened in the Un Certain Regard session at the 2006 De Cannes Festival.