Soegija (a Film by Garin Nugroho)

May 20, 2012

Soegija (a Film by Garin Nugroho)

A film by Garin Nugroho about the life of Mgr. Albertus Soegijapranata, S.J., the 1st Indonesian native bishop and also a national hero, which will be released in all movie theatres in Indonesia, in June 7, 2012. Whether Garin Nugroho, or Nirwan Dewanto, the actor who played as Soegija are not a Catholic.

Nirwan Dewanto is also not a real movie actor, he was known as an Indonesian Humanist. The tecnical problem, was because I'm not an actor, said Nirwan. Nirwan was choosen by Father F.X. Murti Hadi Wijayanto S.J., the film producer, due to Nirwan has similiar face like Mgr. Soegija

Nirwan Dewanto was willing to work hard to act by studying lots of Catholic literatures, including learned the Latin, Greek, and Dutch languages. Besides English, Mgr. Soegija was capable of mastering those 3 languages.

The Soegija film controversy was formerly discussed in the internet and through Blackberry Messenger (BBM). Many Indonesian sceptic people who haven't see the film, considered that this film will affect to one's faith after he watched it, a Christianitation. Such a short minded thinking, living in the country with so many differences, races, faiths, cultures and languages, with Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Differences but one) as its motto. Don't call yourself as an Indonesian if you have that kind of thought!

Butet Kertaradjasa, one of the film actors also deplored the existence of such opinions. There will be no one's faith is changed simply because of watching a work of art. I feel pity for people who think so shallow. It similar to people who buy food, then ask what is the chef's faith? Had the chaf been circumcised or not? That's very funny. I think the rumor was a free promotional ads, said Butet in the interview at the Gran Melia Hotel, Jakarta, May 16, 2012. This film purpose is to foster the values of nationalism, humanity and how to behave in an unstable situation, he added.

This 12 billion IDR budget film is inspired by Mgr. Soegija's diary during his nomination as apostolic vicar of Semarang in 1940 and the end of the war with the Dutch in 1949. Mgr. Soegija's fight was not phisically, but by his articles that had sent to foreign media, or so called as silent diplomacy.

The film begins in the courtyard of the Church of Gedangan, in Semarang. Soegijapranata has just been ordained Apostolic Vicar, upon ratification by Mgr. Montini who would later become Pope Paul VI. Indonesia was still occupied by the Dutch, but in 1941, the Dutch surrendered to Japan, which begun to conquer South East Asia.

The Indonesians welcomed the Japanese as their saviour. Mgr. Soegija knows everything what had already happened in the Church in Japan. He had predicted that soon the saviour would do the same as the Dutch. Torture Indonesian people with force labour called romusa, causing millions of deaths by starvation, and teaching native Indonesian to raise weapons to build their defense against the U.S. Allied Forces. Though the last one has benefit for Indonesia to build Tentara Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Army).

Mgr. Soegija's memorable words was when he broadcasted on the radio in 1947.

We are Indonesian Catholics side with the republic will achieve a real and complete independence
Mgr. Soegija's wish came true on December 27, 1947, when the Dutch was willing to recognized Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia, the United States of the Republic of Indonesia.

The People's Tongue Connector

Penyambung Lidah Rakyat

Mgr. Albertus Soegijapranata, S.J. was born by the child name Soegija in Solo (Oldest=Soerakarta), Central Java, November 25, 1896. In July 26, 1963, based on Presidential Decree no. 152 of 1963, the 1st President of the United States of the Republic of Indonesia (PotUSoRI), Soekarno, awarded him as Indonesian National Hero, shortly after he passed away in Netherlands. He was buried in the Giri Tunggal Heroes Cemetery, in Semarang, Central Java. To honour the Rama Kanjeng, a street in Solo and a Catholic University in Semarang were named after his.

Image from Wikimedia


  1. hello, what is indeed a great movie!
    If it's good to watch ...

  2. even I haven't watched the movie.....I really appreciate for the movie maker....two thumbs!

  3. Hey, what do you mean in your last paragraph as "the 1st President of the United States of the Republic of Indonesia (PotUSoRI"?

    1. Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia is the real Indonesian country name. How do you translate it in English?

  4. sebuah karya seni yang sangat mengesankan, dimana nilai2 kebangsaan yang dituturkan dengan baik tanpa mengesampingkan nilai2 religi dari suatu agama tertentu. Jika masih ada yang berpendapat "sempit" tentang film ini, berarti mereka sebenarnya bukanlah orang2 Indonesia yang berjiwa nasionalis.

    1. justru yg berjiwa nasionalis adalah dia yg mampu menerima perbedaan pendapat

  5. love Soegija... humanity in action....

  6. @Anonymous comment #3 : Indonesia was once in the form of united states (Republik Indonesia Serikat)


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