Contesting Indonesian Nationalism and Masculinity in Cinema | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1059-440X
  • E-ISSN: 2049-6710


In one of the most powerful films in the New Order regime in Indonesia (1966-1998), Arifin C. Noer’s Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (The 30th September Movement Treason/PKI, 1984), a scene shows a general’s daughter looking admiringly at a portrait of her father in his military uniform (Fig. 1 ).The lowangle point-of-view shot of the portrait creates an aura of grandeur surrounding the general figure. The child tells her mother that she wants to have a star emblem on her chest like the one worn by her father. Her mother, while putting her husband’s uniform into the closet, replies that she has to fight in a battle (berjuang)fightfff in order to get a star. The father is absent from this home setting but the uniform, an embodiment of his presence, binds the mother and the daughter. This scene establishes the ideal manhood in the Indonesian military with the general becoming a heroic father figure in both public and domestic spheres. It introduces the culture of Bapakism /Father-ism in Indonesian politics, which is disrupted yet later restored within and outside the filmic diegesis.


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