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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 12. August 20, 1947

Indonesia Calling

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Indonesia Calling

When a film is made by the Australian Waterside Workers Union depicting the action taken by Australian workers to support the Indonesian Republic, you may be sure that it is a landmark in the history of Australian labour. With Joris Ivens, famous Dutch director, and one of the fathers of the documentary film, directing, the film should be accurate and valuable.

Such a film is "Indonesia Calling." This film is frankly partisan. Here is no phoney ""art for art's sake" divorced from life. Art is mobilised as a weapon for a people struggling for independence and for freedom from colonial subjection. Here is realism and a stirring presentation of the solidarity of workers or many nations—Australian, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and British.

We see the Dutch ships idle. We see ammunition unloaded from the "mercy" ships and we read Chifley's denunciation of those who would ship arms and ammunition in boxes labelled food and medical supplies. Australian diggers with loud-speakers address the Dutch troops lining the sides of the Moreton Bay: "You fought for your freedom, now give the Indonesians theirs. Don't fight for Dutch Imperialism." We look into the office of the Indonesian Seamen's Union, a union not allowed under Dutch rule, and we see the typist listing the Dutch ships declared black. Then we are caught up in the struggle to try and stop one Dutch freighter from pulling out with an Indian crew, who had been told they were carrying food supplies to Borneo while in fact the ship was carrying military supplies to Batavia.

Such a film is bound to meet opposition. It did. Politicians and newspaper reviewers succeeded in banning the film for export. Finally after many protests, in November, 1946, the film was released for export. Copies have been sent to America, France, Indonesia, England and New Zealand. For the past two months the New Zealand copy has remained in the Censor's office without a certificate.