A film about US President Barack Obama’s childhood days in Indonesia debuts in Jakarta on Wednesday, promising a very different perspective on the man in the White House.
The film, “Obama Anak Menteng” or “Obama the Menteng Kid”, is set in the upscale Jakarta neighbourhood of Menteng where Obama lived from 1967 to 1971 with his mother and Indonesian stepfather.
Co-director Damien Dematra said it would show the US president in a light that Americans might find strange. “Viewers, especially Westerners, will see a different world. They’ll see Obama eating chicken satay, not hamburgers.
They’ll see his neighbours and friends wearing chequered sarongs and Muslim caps,” he told AFP.
Even so, producers skirted controversy surrounding the extent that Islam influenced Obama’s early years in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
A scene showing Obama, who is Christian, praying like a Muslim was dropped as it was deemed “too political”, Mr Dematra said.
“He was just imitating other kids when they were praying but it didn’t mean he wanted to be Muslim. That scene wasn’t even shot because I didn’t want people to take it out of context and use it against him,” he said.
Based on his interviews with Obama’s surviving neighbours and friends in the Indonesian capital, Dematra claims the film is “60 percent fact and 40 percent fiction”.