Post-reform 1998, apart from giving birth to a new wave of the Indonesian film industry, there was also a lively da’waa film genre promoting an “Islamic” lifestyle. The da’waa style of this genre is dominated by diversity that is present as an ideological discourse, while elevating the lifestyle aspect of the urban middle class as an ideal lifestyle. Two obsessions in “Islamic” films are (1) the problem of romantic love and the urgency of marriage institutions, (2) going abroad (this was revealed, among others, by Eric Sasono in his review of the film Haji Backpacker on his blog) . Of course there are variations and exceptions. However, the presence of this lifestyle aspect is the main feature of this subgenre, and it is interesting to study and explore.

  1. Haji Backpacker (2014) – Director: Danial Rifki. A da’waa film that tends to raise aspects of religion as a personal journey. 
  2. Emak Ingin Naik Haji (2009) – Director: Aditya Gumay. The traditional desire to migrate (“abroad”) Muslims is actually the pilgrimage. This obsession is depicted romantically in the film, which is based on the story of Asma Nadia, one of the founders of Forum Lingkar Pena (FLP) – the largest writing organization in Indonesia post-reform 1998.
  3. 99 Cahaya di Langit Eropa: The Final Edition (2014) – Director: Guntur Soeharjanto. An interesting case is that the film as a medium for Islamic da’waa preaching is more verbal than the Rhoma Irama films. If Rhoma’s main mission is to improve personal morals, this film is carried away in the dream of Islamic glory in Europe. Although, the highlight of the film turns out to be very domestic: the wife finally decides to wear the headscarf.
  4. Cinta Laki-Laki Biasa (2016) – Director: Guntur Soeharjanto. Based on the book Asma Nadia, the melodrama of love and household. The main ingredient is moral conflicts about wealth and social status.
  5. Kukejar Cinta ke Negeri Cina (2014) – Director: Fajar Bustomi. Emphasizing Chinese Muslim women, who become the idealization of this subgenre’s Islamization lifestyle.


Hikmat Darmawan

Haji Backpacker

Danial Rifki | Drama | 2014 | 107 min | Indonesia | 13+

Mada rebelled against God, because God had taken away his father. He also lost his love. Mada was angry at the reality and decided to become a backpacker and live freely. He also left God, family, and friends. He found physical happiness, but felt spiritually empty. It was at this moment of vulnerability that God invited him back through a series of events. Wandering from one country to another, exposing awareness for awareness, Mada realized that God actually loves and always takes care of him.


Emak Ingin Naik Haji
Aditya Gumay | Drama | 2009 | 76 min | Indonesia | 13+

In his old age, Emak wanted to perform hajj. Unfortunately, with her income as a cake seller and money she received from her son, Zein, a traveling painting seller, Emak did not have enough money to make her wish come true. In the midst of his situation, Emak did not give up. He saved her money in the hajj savings at the bank. Meanwhile, the wealthy neighbor has already performed hajj several times, let alone umrah. In other places there are people who intend to perform hajj only for political purposes. Even so, Zein tried to make Emak’s wish come true and almost gave up.

Winner of Commendable Film, Bandung Film Festival 2010
Winner of Commendable Artistic Stylist, Bandung Film Festival 2010
Winner of Commendable Director, Bandung Film Festival 2010
Winner of Best Female Actor, Indonesian Movie Awards 2010
Featured in the Best Adapted Story Screenwriter, Indonesian Film Festival 2009


99 Cahaya di Langit Eropa: The Final Edition
Guntur Soeharjanto | Drama | 2014 | 95 min | Indonesia | 13+

Europe does not only teach them about the life of science, but also follow the divine formula of plurality and eternal belief. A story of wandering in discovering the secrets of the great human civilization thousands of years ago. Finding Islam, not only faith, but also practice. This was the end of Hanum and Rangga’s journey in Europe which led them to search for the meaning of the source of the Most Perfect truth.

Cinta Laki-Laki Biasa

Guntur Soeharjanto | Drama | 2016 | 107 min | Indonesia | 13+

Nania Dinda Wirawan met Muhammad Rafli Imani when Rafli became Nania’s practical work mentor in a simple house construction project. Nania not only received guidance on the science of building a house, but also guidance to live a more meaningful life. Nobody thought that Nania would accept Rafli’s proposal. In fact, in their social status, they are different like the earth and the sky. Nania comes from a prominent family, while Rafli is just an ordinary man. Nania’s mother strongly disagree, as did her three older sisters who were married to established men. Moreover, Nania has been arranged for a marriage with Tyo Handoko, a doctor. Various attempts are made to cancel Nania’s intention, but Nania believes that only with Rafli, her life will be happy. Rafli must prove that even though he is just an ordinary man, his love is extraordinary love.


Kukejar Cinta ke Negeri Cina

Fajar Bustomi | Drama | 2014 | 94 min | Indonesia | 13+

Imam, an eternal student, barely fulfills his duties as a Muslim. His lover Widya, his junior, has finished college and work. Widya is impatient because Imam has not yet graduated, on the other hand Imam is disappointed because Widya has to dress in an office with a sexy appearance. When Imam accompanied his best friend Billy to the Sam Po Khong temple, he met Chen Jia Li, a Muslim woman from China who was on vacation to her ancestral place before preaching with Ma Fu Hsien, the owner of the Wing Chun hermitage and boarding school in Beijing. Imam was fascinated by the friendliness and elegance of the hijab Chen Jia Li.

Various films in the Islamic/Da’waa Films: Between Romance & Transnational Migration program can be watched on through the following link , as well as through the Klik Film application. You only need to register and subscribe to IDR 10,000 for one week, you can watch various films that are served at the 2020 Madani Film Festival.