Merah Putih 1: Red and White

Set against a historically authentic backdrop of Indonesia’s struggle for independence in 1947, during the Van Mook offensive into the heart of republican territory in Central Java, Merah Putih is a story about young Indonesian cadets who bond together despite their differences in religion, ethnicity, class and culture, to become guerrilla fighters for Indonesia’s independence. The film was inspired by the real-life experiences of the brave cadets massacred in Lengkong, and all the men and women who fought for a free and united Indonesia between 1945 and 1948. The movie depicts the diversity of Indonesians through its unique and different characters. There is Amir, a quiet and devout Muslim, who gives up his job as a teacher and even leaves his beloved wife to become a cadet, while hot-headed Tomas comes all the way from Sulawesi to be a soldier in a bid to get revenge against the Dutch soldiers who slaughtered his family. There is also a cocky and elitist playboy Marius and his best friend Soerono, who is a priyayi (Javanese aristocrat), as well as the Hindu street youth Dayan.
The movie starts with the tough lives of the aforementioned characters in a military school, showing friendship and even competition among them. But the lives of the young cadets changes when Dutch soldiers suddenly attack their camp, tearing them apart. With limited weaponry and forces, they decided to unite to fight against the Dutch and defend their freedom. Combining action, drama, humor, romance, human tragedy and strong personal stories, the movie is aimed at inspiring the new generation with the spirit of the generations before them who fought and sacrificed themselves for the freedoms Indonesia enjoys today.

Donny Alamsyah, Rahayu Saraswati, Lukman Sardi

Yadi Sugandi

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