THERE were some movies which took Indonesia Independence War (1945-1949) as their setting. Most of them fell into two categories, propaganda and rubbish. Only few movies which were really good, such as Nagabonar and Soerabaja’45, although the latter sometimes fell into propaganda. Oeroeg was the best movie which took the era as it sets and ironically made by Netherland, which were Indonesia’s enemy.
When the other movies only talk about the war, this movie took a deeper approaching. It pulled us to understand the reason behind the war. Why the Indonesian refused to be controlled by the Dutch. It showed the discrimination experienced by Indonesian as third class citizen in the Dutch rule.
The movie also showed a empathized-to-Indonesia-movement Dutch teacher which help Indonesia fighter degrading the fighting spirit of Dutch soldiers. It was more realistic role for foreigner in Indonesia at the time instead the irrational role which sometimes appeared in this genre (such as a dutch soldier in Indonesia line in “Singa Karawang” which was impossible due to high risk of being falsely recognized as enemy by the Indonesia people itself).
The dialog was also interesting. In the last scene, Johan, as the main character ask Oeroeg whether they have already in the same degree. Oeroeg’s cynical reply is still relevant today. When the developed countries often call the other countries as the Third world, isn’t it another form of humiliation in modern world?