The Raiding Dutchmen: Colonial Stereotypes, Identity and Islam in Indonesian B-movies

This paper intends to examine the portrayal of Dutch colonialism in Indonesian B-movies, which were prevalent in Indonesian screens in the 1970s and the 1980s. The portrayal is full of stereotype, in which the Dutch officials, as the colonial authority, are portrayed as “immoral” and unjust Westerners who have insatiable appetite for financial accumulation. This portrayal is always coupled with the depiction of the films’ arch-protagonists as heroes who fight colonialism, and are equipped with religious justification and self-righteousness that enable them to acquire superhuman strength.

The stereotyping of the Dutch in these films should be seen in relation to two main reasons. First, this modern-day stereotype should be seen in postcolonial discourse as an effort to popularize Indonesian national identity. Secondly, it is not a coincidence that the portrayal of Indonesian heroism in the colonial resistance movements is done in conjunction with national and religious (particularly Islamic) identity since there has been an overlap between national and Islamic identity in the development of postcolonial discourse in Indonesia. In the light of examination of popular narratives in Indonesian B-movies, especially the “colonial actions film genre,” this paper will provide insights into the formation of national identity, religious tension, and postcolonial situation.
Keywords: post-colonial, stereotype, Islam and cinema, b-movies, Indonesia, identity formation

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