Life below the poverty line


My Sky, My Home
A film directed by Slamet Rahardjo Djarot
Showing at AFI Cinema, Paddington, Sydney
Until July 16
Reviewed by Sarah Armstrong

My Sky, My Home has been touted as another Salaam Bombay — the Indian film which gave such devastating insight into child poverty in Bombay. And My Sky, My Home does indeed provide a stark look at the life of the very poor in Jakarta.

Director Slamet Rahardjo takes us to a squalid slum where 12-year-old Gempol's family barely survives by scavenging for scrap paper.

Gempol is befriended by Andri — who's the same age but from a very different family. Andri is chauffeured to school in a Mercedes, orders his family's maids around and jives to western pop songs.

The most delightful scenes are humorous and full of life, and Gempol and Andri's partnership serves to teach them and the audience about their very different lives.

The film has been described as gentle and thoughtful — and it is both — but the comparisons between the opportunities and prospects of the two boys are far from gentle. It's a disturbing glimpse at the widening social gap in a country where 30 million people continue to live below the poverty line.

A special screening organised by Community Aid Abroad and the Bougainville Support Group on July 6 raised over $1200 to help get medical supplies into Bougainville.