Inside Gazes, Outside Gazes: The Influence of Ethnicity on the Filmmakers of the Dutch East Indies (1926–1936)

The first decade of the Indonesian film industry film industry was marked by competition between Chinese and European filmmakers to reach audiences by employing strategies—in film language, plotting, and casting—influenced by the customs of both their respective ethnic groups, and their target audiences. This paper explores the role of ethnicity in the first ten years of Indonesian film industry, beginning with L. Heuveldorp and G. Krugers’ 1926 production Loetoeng Kasaroeng [The Misguided Lutung], and ending with Albert Balink and Mannus Franken’s 1936 film Pareh [Rice]. Referring to concrete examples from the films produced in Indonesia during this period, the article concludes that filmmakers fell into one of four prominent categories: Europeans targeting European audiences, Europeans targeting indigene audiences, Chinese targeting Chinese audiences, and Chinese targeting indigene audiences.