DER Documentary

40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy

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by Robert Lemelson
color, 86 min, 56 min, 2009

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy tells the story of one of the largest unknown mass-killings of the 20th century. In 1965-66, an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 people were secretly killed when General Suharto began a bloody purge of suspected communists throughout Indonesia. For decades, the Indonesian government repressed all memory of this event, and the world looked away.

Based on the research of prominent anthropologist Robert Lemelson and edited by two-time Academy Award winner Pietro Scalia, this film follows the compelling testimonies of four individuals and their families from Central Java and Bali, as they break their silence for the first time. Told in understated detail, the cumulative effect of their stories is heartbreaking, profound and ultimately redemptive.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Winner, Best Asian Documentary, Endeavors Documentary Film Festival, Singapore, 2013
Nominee, Best Editing in a Documentary Film, St. Tropez International Film Festival, Nice, France, 2013
Winner, Award of Excellence, Canada International Film Awards, 2013
Winner, Best Foreign Feature, Oregon Film Awards, 2012
Winner, Award of Excellence, International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration & Equality, Indonesia, 2012
Nominee, Most Innovative Production, History Makers Awards, 2011
Winner, Award of Merit, 2009 Accolades Competition, 2009
Winner, Award of Excellence, 2009 Indie Fest, 2009
International Film Festival For Peace, Inspiration, Equality, Indonesia, 2012
Kingston NY Film Festival, USA, 2012
3rd World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom, 2012
Sanur Film Nights, Bali, Indonesia, 2011
XIX International Festival of Ethnological Film, Belgrade, Serbia, 2010
Taiwan International Documentary Festival, 2010
Psychocinema Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2010
Globians world+culture Documentary Film Festival, Berlin, Germany, 2009
Amnesty International Films That Matter, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2009
Boston International Film Festival, Boston, MA, USA, 2009
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Related Resources
Film's website:
See chapter 15 of Formative Experiences: The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology: "Ethnographic case study: Anak PKI: a longitudinal case study of the effects of social ostracism, violence and bullying on an adolescent Javanese boy."
Study guide - General (PDF)
Study guide - College (PDF)

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