Most people in Indonesia know the film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI, especially those who lived through the 80s and 90s. G30S/PKI is a film that tells the ‘HIStory’ of what happened at the night of September 30th and October 1st,1965 directed by Arifin C. Noer commissioned by the regime under Suharto. It depicts the brutality of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) in planning a coup and killing some high-ranking generals. It also shows how Suharto came out as a champion not long after.
This film is the most watched in Indonesia and is considered as one of the most effective propaganda films of all time. All students all over Indonesia were obliged to watch the film on September 30th every year and it was played on the only TV station available at the time, TVRI, since its release in 1984. When private TV stations sprang up in Indonesia in late 80s, the regime also ordered them to play this film every year. Only when Suharto was ousted from power in1998 that this regulation was revoked.
Around 18 video makers and artists got together to revisit the history by watching the film and make video remixes out of the film. They were given the freedom to make their own personal interpretations of the film. Sure enough, imaginations and creativities were in the air. For the whole 2 days, participants were engaged in discussions, ideas sharing, and tried to find ways to put their ideas into works.
On the last evening, we had the honour to have a video call with three political exiles who live in Sweden, where participants asked questions about the 1965 event and the impacts afterwards. They also posted questions to us. The call that was planned for only half an hour went on to more than an hour.
At the end, 14 video remixes were created. Some took on a more serious note, some chose to be funny. Whatever it is, the remixes reflect our way to break the taboo and end the silence of talking about the history of 1965. And we hope that an activity like this can serve as an entrance for everyone especially those involved in it to seek more information and understanding of the dark history of 1965 and be critical of it.