Shot over the course of 12 years, Standing on the Edge of a Thorn explores the rural origins of the Indonesian sex trade. The film is narrated by Lisa Ariyani, the daughter of Imam Rohani—a retired civil servant struggling with a mental disorder—and Tri Suryani, an unwed pregnant teenager.
Trapped by traditional values that stigmatize their relationship, Tri is eventually lead into a life of prostitution and violence. It is against this unstable family backdrop that Lisa matures into a young woman and the film documents her struggle to understand her parents’ predicaments while she herself is being drawn into the sex trade.
My wife is much younger, almost twenty-five years younger. She’s the same age as my oldest child from my first marriage.
I was forced to marry. The marriage was arranged by my parents. Back then, children couldn’t disobey their parents.
Don’t judge a prostitute…because a housewife isn’t always better than a prostitute.
My husband asked this wealthy man, “Sir, could you help me with five million rupiahs? In return, you can take my wife anywhere you want.”
Villagers saw my wife as a “bad girl,” and she felt ashamed.
I’m torn that I have to do this to feed my child.
- Nominee, Best Documentary-style Reality Production, Impact Media Awards, New York, NY, 2013
- Foundation for Psychocultural Research, “Culture, Mind, and Brain: Emerging Concepts, Methods, Applications” Conference, Los Angeles, CA, 2012
- National Consortium of Torture Treatment Program, 5th Annual Conference, “Torture Treatment: Clinical, Community & Policy Interventions & Outcomes” Conference, George Washington University, Washington, DC 2013
- Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture, San Diego, CA, 2014
- Newport Beach Film Festival, Newport, CA, 2013
- 10th “Eyes and Lenses” Ethnographic Film Review, Warsaw, Poland, 2013
- Parnu International Film Festival, Parnu, Estonia, 2013
- United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford, CA, 2013
- Aperture Film Festival, Australia, 2013
- Ethnografilm, Paris, France, 2014
- 6th International Festival of Anthropology Film Festival, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2014
- Frozen River Film Festival, Winona, MN, 2014
- 2012. CSULA Tea & Sex Group, Los Angeles, CA
- 2012. UCLA Indonesian Studies Conference, Los Angeles, CA
- 2012. UCLA Mind, Medicine and Culture Group, Los Angeles, CA
- 2012. USC Masters of Visual Anthropology Seminar, Los Angeles, CA
- 2013. Women in Film International Committee presents, ‘Through the Lens of an Anthropologist’, Culver City, CA