45 Years of 30th September Movement : Watching That Film Again
Maybe we still remember how scary it was. When we had been forced to watch nothing else but “Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI” in television. At the era of New Order, every 30th September in every year we just had one program choice to watch. Other choices were turn off the television, slept, went out, or listened the radio.
The film appeared at 07.30 P.M (West Indonesia Standard Time) after National News at TVRI station. And then in the middle of film, filled with Dunia Dalam Berita, then continue again with 4 hours and 30 minutes duration.
Other private station were also had to show it. There were a lot of scene about violence. When we were watching that film again, we could see something unique, the title was not Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI, it was Pengkhianatan Gerakan 30 September (Abbreviated as G30S) without /PKI.
According to John Roosa, the author of Dalih Pembunuhan Massal : Gerakan 30 September dan Kudeta Soeharto, calling G30S/PKI means that we agreed G30S were attempted by PKI (Indonesian Communist Party). That is why during the New Order it was written G30S/PKI. But, who would have thought, The functionary at The New Order even forgot to put a word /PKI at the title, though it was put at publications. In JB Kristanto film catalog, this film initially entitled as SOB Sejarah Orde Baru, another opinion said it was Staat van Oorlog en Beleg which means our country in danger.
It was just about title, in content they were all the same, it was The New Order version about history in 1965. So, the title without ‘/PKI’ term maybe just ommission of the director Arifin C. Noer. Assuming that it was disobedience on The New Order seems impossible. After all Arifin had been trying adapted from the New Order historian’s story (Nugroho Notosusanto) about G30S .
Pengkhianatan G30S was an official version which the most popular in society. Certainly, it was because when it was released at 1983, every students were obligated to watch this film. 699,282 people watched this film at 1984. From 1984 to 1998 every 30th September this film had been rolled in television. It stopped when the ministry of Information was Yunus Yosfiah.
The 1980s was the glory era of The New Order. There was no opposition, students had been silenced from 1970s by NKK/BKK rules. One of the rebellion Tanjung Priok Tragedy, had stopped immediately that time. The citizens relatively prosperous in 1980s. From 1970s oils booming had been made an apolitcs social middle class. Rather than disturbed regime stability, the society chose to keep silence.
Pengkhianatan G30S involved The New Order figures like Nugroho Notosusanto a historian from The New Order as the writer. Brigadier General G. Dwipayana as a president of National Film Company. According to Katherine E. McGreggor’s book Ketika Sejarah Berseragam, because of sensitive plots it must been rechecked by Soeharto and General Sarwo Edhie before its premiere.
Tempo Magazine on 7th April 1984 edition said, Soeharto already watched it on January 1984. His comment that time was “…. there are still many untold stories…. therefore, there will be a sequel of it..” (fortunately, there was not). In the same magazine, the persecution at Lubang Buaya was considered “less sadistic”.
Arifin needed 2 years for making this movie, this was really a phenomenal work from him. With duration 4,5 hours also spent 800 millions Rupiahs (the most expensive movie in 1980s) involving 120 roles makes this movie reasonable to call itself “The biggest movie ever, never be repeated!”
This movie was very detail. Its setting kept moving from Bogor Palace to PKI illegal meetings and then the killed general’s homes, continued to Lubang Buaya. The story was also interspersed by the situation of misery lifes in 1960s. A vulnerable politics circumstances was pictured by newspapers clippings, news in radio, bad comments from citizens. Posters of Bung Karno were everywhere and Manipol Usdek writings scattered in many walls and roofs.
Talk aboout directing technique, Arifin undertook his duty very well. He made the film moving fast and created every scene as critical moment. 4 hours duration did not feel too long, because the plot as great as other politics thriller movie. Moreover, the music illustrations were very supporting. Arifin described this movie to the composer Embie C Noer (Arifin younger brother) with a brief words “it’s a horror movie, mbi”
Embie interpreted the term ‘horror’ righteously. The music had been strengthen the illustration pictures. It was not just suprising us at the moment, it created fear on us bit by bit. As a propaganda, it was representatively enough as a full version of 30th September Movement. Total Magazines said, what Soeharto had done was similar with Leni Riefenstahl. Since he was making a Nazi Documentary Film in 1934, Triumph of Will. It was phenomenal. Regardless, it was not an honest work, it was propaganda.
Film critics and editor at tabloidbintang.com