September 2014 / 4 posts found

Director Robert Lemelson on Huffington Post World Brief Live

Watch at 13:53 mark to hear Director Robert Lemelson talk about Bitter Honey, polygamy, and Bali.

‘Bitter Honey’: Film Review by The Hollywood Reporter

Intelligently assembled by Lemelson, a UCLA anthropologist, it addresses a Westerner’s concerns without condescending to its subjects; though a three-family focus is hardly enough to make an authoritative-feeling portrait, the picture will satisfy the curious in niche and educational bookings.

-John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Read the full review.

Bitter Honey Theatrical Release Schedule

We are excited to announce our theatrical release of Bitter Honey in week-long runs in several cities.
Please keep posted for more information about each screening as there will be select Q & A sessions with the director.



Portland, OR

Join us on Sunday, November 30, 2014 for the 4:30pm screening followed by a Q&A session with Director Robert Lemelson and Rebecca Peatow Nickels, the Executive Director of the Portland Women’s Crisis Line which provides 24 hr resources and support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence (

Hollywood Theater
4122 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

November 30, 2014 @ 4:30pm
Q & A with Director

Salt Lake City, UT

The Gateway Megaplex Theatre
165 South Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City, UT 84101

November 13-16, 2014 @ 7pm each night
Q & A with Director on Fri/ Nov 14

Washington, DC

West End Cinema
2301 M St NW, Washington, DC 20037
November 7, 2014

11/7: 3:20pm | 5:20pm | 7:20pm* | 9:30pm
11/8-11/13: 3:20pm | 5:20pm | 7:20pm | 9:20pm

Join us on Friday, November 7, 2014 for the 7:20pm screening followed by a conversation with Director Robert Lemelson and moderated by Pek Koon Heng , Director of ASEAN Studies Center at American University

The director will also introduce the 9:30pm screening on opening night for those who can’t make it the 7:20pm screening Q&A.

Chicago, IL

AMC River East
322 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

10/31: 10:20a | 1:20p | 3:30p | 5:40p | 6:20p | 8:30p | 10:45p
11/1 1:20p | 3:30p | 5:40p | 8p | 10:45
11/2: 1:20p | 3:30p | 5:40p | 8p
11/3: 11:10a | 1:20p | 3:30p | 9:10p
11/4: 11:50a | 2:10p | 4:20p | 9:10p
11/5: 11:10a | 1:20p | 3:30p | 9:10p
11/6: 11:10a | 1:20p | 3:30p | 5:40p | 8pm | 9:10p

New York, NY

IFC NY Theater
323 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10014

12pm | 1:30pm | 3pm | 6:20pm

Join us on Saturday, November 1, 2014 for the 6:20pm screening followed by a conversation with Director Robert Lemelson moderated by Rita Cosby of WABC

***UPDATE: Please join us for an additional Q&A session with Director Robert Lemelson on Monday, November 3, 2014 after the 6:20pm screening.

Boston, MA

Apple Cinemas Freshpond
168 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02138
October 24, 2014
Q & A with Director on Thur/ Oct 30 after 7:15pm screening

Daily Showtimes: 1:30pm | 3:25pm | 5:15pm | 7:15pm | 9:15pm
Ticket Prices: $9.75 Adult | $6.75 Child / Senior

San Francisco, CA

Presidio Theater
2340 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123
October 17, 2014
Q & A with Director on Fri/ Oct 17/ 8:30pm screening

Daily Showtimes 1:10pm | 3:40pm | 6:15pm | 8:30pm
Ticket Prices: $11 Adult | $9 Senior/Child

Los Angeles, CA

The Landmark Regent Theater
1045 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
October 3, 2014
Showtimes 3pm | 5pm | 7pm | 9pm
Q & A with Director on Fri/ Oct 3/ 7pm screening

Interview with Cleo Edge

Excerpt taken from The Artist Spotlight on Cleo Edge Magazine,  “Culture Matters: Filmmaker/Anthropologist Robert Lemelson Crosses the Boundaries of Mediums to Explore Women’s Rights Conditions and Customary Law in Indonesia” by Mai Sennaar

MS: What general things have you identified in the human condition that are consistent–what are the take away lessons from Bitter Honey that are true for all of us?

RL: I would say for Bitter Honey, “culture matters”, and that’s the basic message of anthropology. If you look at the overall message of Bitter Honey, it’s that there are rules that we all live by culturally. In Bali, one of the major structures is called Adat or (Customary Law). In many traditional societies, before colonialism, you have local village customary law regulating people’s lives. In the way that the police or the court systems regulate our lives in America. And it’s quite significant for women’s lives in polygamous unions.

For example, what the film shows is that because of patrilineality in Indonesia, when women marry, they move to a man’s compound and their assets enter into his lineage, so if a woman wants to get divorced, she will lose her children, they will stay in the husband’s compound, and she will lose her inheritance rights which goes from grandfather to father to son. I mean the women maintain property and land rights through their sons, but they themselves don’t own property.

Perhaps most significantly, in Bali they have a belief of reincarnation of souls. For example, when I die, my soul will go into a kind of heaven place for 3 or 4 generations and then enter into the soul my great-great grandson, and similarly my soul descended from my great-great grandfather or someone of that generation. It’s a kind of familial reincarnation. So what happens when they get divorced is that their souls are cut off from their husband’s lineage so they actually lose their souls.

Unmarried women in a village context, divorced or widowed are socially excluded on many levels. So there’s also a loss of social roles, so all those things really matter when you think about someone who wants to get out an abusive marriage and how much they have to lose. So culture really matters for women’s lives. And then the question is, how do you change customary law…that’s complex…you know, how do you change these rules and regulations that govern people’s lives? In these sort of circumstances, culture determines many, many aspects. It really matters.