1979. November 1828

November 1828

jatilan dance leading to the attempted assassination of the Dutch commander by one of the dancers Director Teguh Karya
Producer Nyoo Han Siang, Ronald Lolang, Hendrik G. Gozali
Year of Production 1979
Screenplay Teguh Karya
Cinematography Tantra Suryadi
Editing Tantra Suryadi
Production Design Benny Benhardi, Slamet Rahardjo
Sound Suparman Sidik
Music Franki Raden, Sardono W. Kusuma, Slamet Rahardjo Cast Slamet Rahardjo, Yenny Rachman, Sardono W. Kusuma, Sunarti Rendra, Maruli Sitompul
Production Company/ World Sales Interstudio, with Gemini/Satria/Garuda Film
Original Format : Cinemascope/Colour/35mm
Video Format VHS Video/Cinemascope/Colour/140 min/English subtitles.

November 1828 is set during the Java war (1825-1830), a war which partly arose from internal intrigue in the Yogyakarta court, but also as a central Javanese reaction to attempts by the Dutch to impose upon the Javanese a modern colonial bureaucratic state, built around tax collection. This war is regarded by historians as one of the most important attempts to resist the imposition of Dutch colonialism in Java.

The film concentrates not on the leader of the Javanese forces, the charismatic Prince Diponegoro, but on the role in the war of ordinary Javanese villagers – the rakyat – (common people). The sustained contrast developed in the film between the culture of the Javanese villagers, and that of the Westernised officers of the occupying Dutch colonial army (most of them Indos of mixed race parentage, in this case having Dutch fathers and Javanese mothers) can be seen as a deliberate attempt to define the cultural specificity of the Javanese, and the effects of Western influence. In scenes depicting the deliberations of the Dutch and Indo forces, November 1828 cleverly utilises many of the conventions of Dutch painting (particularly of Dutch group portraiture) and also of Western drama, as though these conventions express the values of the West, and its pervasive body language. On the other hand, the forms used to depict the Javanese are drawn from Javanese traditions or were especially developed for the film.

November 1828 can be enjoyed as both a multi-plot historical-action film, and as a challenging account of cultural differences. Directed by Teguh Karya, with contributions from his own “Teater Populer Workshop”, and from students at the film and music schools at the Jakarta Institute from the Arts,November 1828 was the first Indonesian film to become widely known abroad.

Suggested Reading

David Hanan “Film and Cultural Difference November 1828” in Krishna Sen (ed.) Histories and Stories. Cinema in New Order Indonesia (Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1988).

Krishna Sen: “Filming History in the New Order” in K. Sen (ed.) Histories and Stories. Cinema in New Order Indonesia(Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1988).

Availability: Between Three Worlds Video is licensed to sell this film on VHS video to anywhere in the worldexcluding Indonesia.