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40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (2009)

| Documentary | 2009 (USA)
2:29 | Trailer

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In one of the largest unknown mass-killings of the 20th century, an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 people were secretly and systematically killed in 1965 when General Suharto began a bloody... See full summary »







Credited cast:
Budi ...
Himself - Survivor
Nyoman Kereta ...
Himself - Survivor
Lanny ...
Herself - Survivor
Geoffrey Robinson ...
Himself - Historian
John Roosa ...
Himself - Historian
Degung Santikarma ...
Himself - Survivor
Baskara Wardaya ...
Himself - Historian


In one of the largest unknown mass-killings of the 20th century, an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 people were secretly and systematically killed in 1965 when General Suharto began a bloody purge of suspected "communists" in Indonesia through a complex and highly contested series of events where he ultimately gained power and the presidency. Under Suharto's authoritarian rule, any discussion or memorializing of the killings that differs from the official state narrative was suppressed. "40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy" follows the compelling testimonies of four individuals and their families, located in Central Java and Bali, two regions heavily affected by the purge, as they break the silence with an intimate look at what it was like for survivors after the mass-killings, during Suharto's New Order regime. The families take us through the events of 1965 through their own experiences as they relive and reflect upon how they were and are still subject to both village- and ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The world looked away at one of the largest mass-killings in the 20th century of Indonesians, 40 years later, four families break the silence. See more »








Release Date:

2009 (USA)  »

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Box Office


$400,000 (estimated)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Himself - Historian: It is really important for Indonesians to cope, to deal, to discuss the injustices of the past. Because otherwise people will think that the victims of the 1965-66 affair were only those who were killed or sent as political prisoners. No, the victims of that event is all of us. So my question is more about the future of this country. If the killing of half a million people is not a problem, then these things might happen again and again.
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User Reviews

Central Java Lives
26 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I know the village - some there say "city" - where much of the Indonesian Holocaust of 1965- 1966 portrayed in "40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy" was unleashed. Friends of the movie's main characters tell me that until today they are unable to mention - in any small reference - communism. Indeed, the non-indigenous researchers did a splendid job finding some of the community's most important actors to this very day. I love that place, and those people - they have been good to me, an outsider. We are always hoping they continue to be good to one another, insiders. As a movie review, I highly suggest that ALL persons of Indonesian educational background should see this excellent documentary. It discusses and denies the state sponsored "history" of 1965 propaganda movie that you who were students were forced to watch in local theaters since 1984; and as such, it presents a new truth.

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