email Join our email list! divider Register Login cartCart
Icarus Film
Films from independent
producers worldwide.
32 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201divider(718) 488 8900
Shadow Play: Indonesia's Years of Living Dangerously
Directed by Chris Hilton
 Text Size  Increase Font Size   Decrease Font Size   divider Printable VersionPrintable Version

SHADOW PLAY looks at how Western powers manipulated key figures in Indonesia to keep Southeast Asia from falling into communist hands. At the heart of the story is Achmad Sukarno, the dynamic figure who led the Dutch East Indies to independence.

Sukarno's courting of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) rankled Western powers. With the establishment of the British state of Malaysia on Indonesia's border and the escalation of the U.S. military campaign in Vietnam, Indonesia and the West became increasingly polarized.

Then, on September 30, junior army officers supposedly under control of the PKI killed the generals. Twenty-four hours later, General Suharto put down the 'coup.' In the weeks that followed, Suharto's powers grew, leading to a nationwide purge and mass arrests in Jakarta of anyone with even tenuous ties to the PKI. In the countryside tens of thousands of people were tortured, shot, and buried in mass graves. Six months after the murder of the generals, with hundreds of thousands of Communists and their alleged supporters dead, General Suharto deposed President Sukarno and began a dictatorship that would last until 1998.

Looking back on that pivotal year, SHADOW PLAY examines how British propaganda specialists worked with General Suharto to whip up anti-Communist sentiment and solidify the army's position as heroes. It also reviews newly released communiqués from U.S. and Australian ambassadors. These documents reveal that Western powers allowed Suharto to carry out mass murders so that the Indonesian domino would fall on the Western side of the Cold War divide.

Through recently declassified documents, interviews with newly liberated Indonesians, and discussions with officials, journalists, and survivors of prison and torture, SHADOW PLAY offers a startling new interpretation of the events that shaped modern Indonesian history and changed the destiny of Southeast Asia.

"Groundbreaking... presents new evidence that international anti-Communist forces, including the U.S., helped bring down the Sukarno regime."—Asian Pages

"The cinematic equivalent of the exhumation of all the bodies in the mass graves in the mountains of Java."—New York

"This strong, stark documentary makes its point."—Sunday Courier News (New Jersey)

"Supported through interviews with a variety of governmental and private persons..., as well as recently released documents of several governments... the film would be useful in classes."—Professor Clark E. Cunningham, University of Illinois, for AEMS 'News and Reviews'

2003 Association for Asian Studies Conference Film Festival
2001 Amsterdam International Documentary Festival

55 minutes / Color
Release: 2002
Copyright: 2002

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Study guide available

Subject areas:
Asia, Cold War Era, Communications, Comparative Government, Human Rights, Indonesia, Media Studies, Political Science, Southeast Asia

Related Titles:
Home | New | Titles | Subjects | Ordering   
About | Best Sellers | Filmmakers | Screenings   
  Follow Us! On...
Facebook Follow Icarus Films on Twitter Instagram Vimeo YouTube
Copyright (c) 2024, Icarus Films
Last Updated January 25, 2024 [Build 3.0.a060-d7]
Privacy Policy