‘Little Obama’ Imagines a Famous Childhood

A statue of a young Barack Obama stood in the neighborhood where he spent part of his childhood.
A statue of a young Barack Obama stood in the neighborhood where he spent part of his childhood.

The American president’s early years in Jakarta provided a couple of Indonesian filmmakers fodder for a new movie, “Little Obama.”

“It’s not about politics, it’s just the story of a boy,” screenwriter and co-director Damien Dematra told the New York Daily News. “It’s about his friendships, his hobbies, just a childhood story.”

Dematra, who posted a making-of video, credited Barack Obama’s formative 1967-1971 years for helping make him who he is today. “The reason I’m doing this is I want people around the world to know that Obama can become who he is because of his background in Indonesia.”

“Little Barry” Obama is portrayed by Hasan Faruq Ali, 12, who hails from New Mexico and, like the president, moved to Indonesia as a toddler. (His father told The New Mexican that the 14-year-old boy had lived in Questa, N.M., for a year.)

The film, which is set to premiere around the time of Obama’s June visit, balances out another tribute, a statue of him as a 10-year-old boy in Mentang Park. After local protests, the likeness was moved to the school he attended as a boy.

Ostensibly, there was no mention of Obama in the other recent Indonesian film to make headlines, “Cowboys In Paradise.”

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