Kadarwati, Wanita dengan Lima Nama – Five Faces of Kadarwati
Indonesian title Kadarwati, Wanita dengan Lima Nama
SBS Title Five Faces of Kadarwati
Director Sophan Sophiaan
Year of Production 1983
Producer P.T. Gramedia Film
Screenplay Satmowi Atmowiloto
Cinematography Adrian Susanto
Editing SK Samsuri Production
Design Hendro Tangkilisan
Music Billy B. Budiardjo
Cast Joice Erna, Frans Tumbuan, Sofia WD, Chitra Dewi, Sophan Sophiaan, Aminah Cendrakasih World Sales P.T. Gramedia Film
Original Format Cinemascope/Colour/112 min
Video Format VHS Pal, Standard Screen, SBS English Sub-titles, 110 mins
Kadarwati is the name of a young idealistic Javanese woman who during World War Two decides to take advantage of a educational schemes offered by the occupying Japanese administration in Java to go to Singapore to study medicine so that she can help her fellow countrymen. The time is June 1942 and Java is alive with the belief that the Japanese forces mean well and that they are offering Indonesians an end to 130 years of intensive colonialism. Not everyone believes this, and while not fully visible, throughout Java there is a growing anti Japanese underground who believe that occupation by the Japanese is just another form of colonialism, and that ultimately all forms of colonialism are the same.
Kadarwati (Joice Erna) departs for Singapore only to find that she is quickly taken to nearby Malaya where she is trained (along with other Indonesian women) to become a housekeeper for the elite of the Japanese occupying forces. ‘Housekeeper’ turns out to be a euphemism for what is now known as ‘comfort woman’. The film traces her various experiences, including her return to Java early in 1945, about 6 months before the end of the Pacific war, and the revenge she takes on the Japanese as the war ends and Indonesian independence is declared.
When the film Kadarwati was released in 1984, at about the same time as Sjumandjaya’s Budak Nafsu, a film with a similar theme, which also depicted the treatment of a Javanese woman by the Japanese during the Second World War, the two films sparked comment in Tokyo papers about continuing Indonesian criticism of the Japanese occupation forty years after it had ended. The film is not critical of all Japanese. Also published by Gramedia as a popular novel, Kadarwati’s story includes what is for her a positive, though brief, relationship she has with a semi-pacifist Japanese officer (Franz Tumbuan), who is no longer trusted by his superiors and is taken out of active service to become the manager of a rubber plantation on the Malayan mainland.
This film has proven popular when used with secondary school students studying Indonesian language and society, because it depicts – in popular and accessible ways – a period of Indonesian history little known outside of Indonesia: the Japanese occupation during the Second World War.
Availability: Between Three Worlds Video is licensed to sell this film on VHS video to anywhere in the worldexcluding Indonesia
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