The Raiding Dutchmen: Colonial stereotypes, identity and Islam in Indonesian B-movies


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

The stereotyping of the Dutch in these films should be seen as a further strategy in a different context, in relation to two main reasons. First, this modern day stereotype should be seen in post-colonial discourse as the effort to situate Indonesian national identity in popular cognizance. 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 development of post-colonial discourse in Indonesia. In the light of examination of popular narrative in Indonesian b-movies, especially on “colonial actions film genre”, this paper will provide insights into formation of national identity, religious tension and post-colonial situation.