asian takes | INDONESIEN

THE WOMEN AND THE GENERALS

Reihen: asian takes | INDONESIEN
Regie: Maj Wechselmann
Sweden 2010 | OmeU | 56 Min.
The poignant documentary restores the names and faces of the victims of the Suharto dictatorship. First, the audience is taken into a retirement home in Jakarta: 21 women and one man live here. In total, they have spent 211 years in prison.
The residents are representative of hundreds of thousands (perceived) Communists who were detained in Indonesia during 1965-1968. When seven high-ranking military officers were kidnapped in the late evening of September 30th 1965 and were killed the same night, the Communist Party (PKI) was blamed for orchestrating a coup d’ etat. General Suharto, then vice-army-chief, “restored order”. In the following months, hundreds of thousands of so called communists were killed, another hundreds of thousands were thrown into jails and prison camps.
Suharto held power for three decades and wrote his narrative of history into Indonesia’s collective memory. This included the false accusation that the murdered generals were mutilated by women from the leftist organization Gerwani. The film portrays several ex-Gerwani-members who were wrongly accused of participating in the murders and who were imprisoned, tortured and raped. None of these political prisoners have been rehabilitated.
The film traces the events of 1965 in the context of post-colonialism and Cold War. Interviews with historians and human rights activists, as well as historic film clips complement the personal experiences of the former political prisoners.