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'Year of Living Dangerously' airs in Indonesia JAKARTA - The Oscar-winning movie The Year of Living Dangerously, set during the emergence of Indonesia's Suharto and banned by the former dictator, has been broadcast for what is believed to be the first time, in a sign the country may be coming to terms with its brutal past. But Indonesian viewers watching Sunday's broadcast of The Year of Living Dangerously were spared one of the film's most graphic scenes, a gunpoint massacre during the murderous chaos surrounding Suharto's 1965-1966 rise to power.
Hundreds of thousands of alleged communists were slaughtered across Indonesia in the aftermath of what Suharto claimed was an attempted communist coup, almost 39 years ago, on September 30, 1965. The 1982 Peter Weir film tells the story of Guy Hamilton, played by Mel Gibson, an Australian foreign correspondent trying to report on escalating political tensions under the country's first president, Sukarno.
Despite Suharto's fall from power in 1998, the truth behind his rise to the top job remains a mystery and viewers would have learned little from watching The Year of Living Dangerously, much of which is a love story between Mr Hamilton and a British embassy officer played by Sigourney Weaver. The private Metro-TV promoted the film as being banned by Suharto, and its trailers briefly showed an excerpt in which several people were gunned down, although the full scene did not make it to air.
Hani Tiara, a Metro-TV public relations officer, said the film was approved by the Film Censor Board and was also trimmed by Metro to fit its time slot. Mr Tiara said the massacre scene was removed in accordance with television industry guidelines that forbid the broadcast of "certain actions, for example those that are too bloody, too violent". "It's not just for this film," he said. "That is governed by our behaviour guidelines agreed to by the Indonesian television association."
The film played in a regular Metro-TV slot which is a showcase for award-winning films, Mr Tiara said. Linda Hunt won a 1984 Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for her portrayal of Hamilton's male cameraman Billy Kwan, who is tormented by the poverty he sees in Sukarno's Indonesia. Although the film, shot in the Philippines, has already been shown to limited Indonesian audiences at the 2000 Jakarta International Film Festival, local media greeted Sunday night's broadcast with interest.
The Media Indonesia daily mentioned that perhaps the Suharto regime had banned the film because the massacre scene "could stain the image of Indonesia". Titie Said, chairman of Indonesia's Film Censor Board, said she could not comment specifically, but the board was obliged by law to watch out for "ideological-political" themes containing propaganda. A Suharto-era law banning communism and Marxism-Leninism remains in effect, she said. Last month legislators approved the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission with a mandate partly to discover what really happened during Indonesia's 'year of living dangerously'.
Asked whether Metro-TV had received any reaction from viewers of the film Mr Tiara said: "So far there is none."



Posted in Media @ 28 September 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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