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Water of Gold


The title of Water of Gold (2010) is derived from the Javanese poem ‘Tirta Kencana’ declaimed at a grave of an Indonesian veteran where we filmed. A declamation to remind a younger generation of Indonesians that Indonesia’s independence was fought with courage and not given as a gift by the Netherlands. A call to militancy as dead warriors look down from heaven on our actions and shortcomings. A poem that may remind the Netherlands that some 4,000 Dutch fighters are also buried there. A black page of Dutch national history that seems to be literally buried in Javanese soil. A collection of short portraits, meandering between past and present and between two nations that became even further apart than they already were. The things also that people cannot forget to want to share with us one more time.


People who once stood opposite each other look back in this documentary. Like Mrs Spoor who still wants to bury her husband in the Netherlands. Or Ms Mulyati who recounts how she had to hide her grief for fallen family members to avoid betraying herself to Dutch soldiers. Mr Keller who, as a former knil officer, wonders whether he bet on the wrong horse at the time. And Mr Wisnuadji who, young and overconfident, lost his arm early on in the revolution and could no longer fight.


The interviews cover events and experiences in the 1920s – 2010s with a focus on 1945 – 1949. They mainly discuss the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include Indonesian revolution, reflections.