Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Year of Living Dangerously

Indonesia's former dictator Suharto is dead. Once upon a time, he replaced Sukarno, another "president" dictator who'd ruled from the end of WWII to the mid-1960s. Suharto was in turn forced out in the late 1990s, no longer covered by his nasty Cold Warrior credentials.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, with Muslims making up the majority.

There's a good novel about the mid-60s upheaval from a Western point of view -- Christopher J. Koch, The Year of Living Dangerously (1978). This was made into a solid 1982 movie directed by Peter Weir (Koch wrote the screenplay).

Erik's Choice: A-

Like all those "outsider in Cuba with romantic interest" stories I posted about previously, The Year of Living Dangerously uses a similar point of view for the sake of non-natives. Here, it's Mel Gibson as the outsider dude and Sigourney Weaver as his match point. Linda Hunt plays a male photographer (an Academy Award-winning performance).

Here , Guy Hamilton (Gibson) and Jill Bryant (Weaver) share an illicit drink. Enjoy that, because danger lurks everywhere!

Indonesia now: population 235+ million as of this post.

Steve Earle & The Dukes did a subversive and funny spin off of the title in their song about an American marriage in upheaval on Exit O (1987): "The Week of Living Dangerously."

There's somethin' 'bout a Monday that always makes me blue . . .

Today's Rune: Opening.


Lana Gramlich said...

People wonder why outsiders hate Americans, yet we were cold war allies with one of the most brutal dictators this world has ever seen. Ah, the "home of the brave." *snort*

Bubs said...

Adios Suharto, go smoke a dog turd in hell.

Great post, and thanks for reminding me about the Year of Living Dangerously--that was one of my favorite movies when it came out.

Charles Gramlich said...

The Cold war made for some strange bedfellows.

Johnny Yen said...

When I was studying Political Science and HIstory in the early and mid-eighties, I was astonished to learn of what had happened in Indonesia, and the numbers of deaths. I wondered why it wasn't better-known.

I was just listening to an NPR thing today on Saharto's legacy, and how his oligarchy has crippled the Indonesian economy and poltical system despite paper economic growth that was incredible.

I loved The Year of Living Dangerously. The scene in which his driver, a Communist, narrowly escapes death is harrowing. The ending is really poignant and symbolic-- he walks away from Indonesia, his friend and mentor dead and him half blind. Great performance by an actor who's been maligned recently.