KUALA LUMPUR (C.M. Paul) — Puskat Pictures, a member of Signis Indonesia premiered its ambitious feature film project entitled Soegija (pronounced SUKIO). It is an epic historical drama about national hero Albertus Soegijapranata which took three years and USD 1.2 million production charges. The film was shown in some 100 cinema halls across Indonesia for over a month and is being shown in remote villages.
Directed by senior Indonesian director Garin Nugroho the film, starring actors with a diversity of cultural backgrounds had its Asian screening, 4th October during Signis Asia Assembly 2012.
“Soegija tells the story of how Jesuit Bishop Albertus Soegijapranata lived in the crucial era in the wake of the Indonesian independence. As a religious leader, he did not lead by commanding an armed unit, rather he used his diplomatic skills to help the infant republic, and by getting involved in humanitarian works for the people,” said the director of Puskat Communication centre and producer of the film Jesuit Fr Y.I. Iswarahadi.
“He was there when the country needed his service the most,” emphasized Fr Iswarahadi.
The film also shows the background and story of the Indonesian nurse Mariyem, Dutch soldier Robert, Dutch war photographer Hendrick and Japanese colonel Nobuzuki, in their own struggle during one of the heaviest periods of Indonesian history.
Though raising the universal aspect of humanity rather than emphasize the religious aspects, this film is about Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) first indigenous bishop Soegijapranata, from his inauguration until the end of Indonesia’s independence war (1940–1949).
This turbulent decade marked by the end of 350 years of Dutch occupation, entry and commencement of Japanese occupation of Indonesia, the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence, and the return of the Netherlands who tried to get Indonesia back as part of their Dutch Empire, which led to the Indonesian National Revolution.
Bishop Soegija wrote all these events in his diary reflections, and also its participation in relieving the suffering of people in the midst of the chaos of war. He tried to play a role at all levels, local politics, national and international. (For his participation, President Sukarno awarded him with the title of National Hero of Indonesia.)