A soldier deployed to suppress independence efforts in the Netherlands' colony of Indonesia finds himself torn between duty and conscience when he joins an increasingly ruthless commander's squad.
CoronaCheck: To visit this film you will need to show 1) a valid admission ticket 2) a COVID certificate (proof of vaccination, a negative test result or proof of recovery in the CoronaCheck app) 3) your ID. In case you are a student you also need to bring 4) your student ID card. The COVID certificate will be checked at the entrance of restaurant De Zwarte Doos, the admission ticket will be checked upstairs at the entrance of the film hall. Further information about CoronaCheck can be found here.
Language: Dutch, subtitles: English
Indonesia, 1946. Johan is a young Dutch soldier who, along with over a hundred thousand others, is sent to bring order to the Dutch East Indies during the War of Independence. Gradually Johan falls under the spell of the charismatic army captain Westerling, nicknamed The Turk. When the war escalates and The Turk increasingly ruthlessly crushes the resistance of the population, the line between good and evil becomes increasingly blurred for Johan.
De Oost is the first Dutch fiction film about the so called ‘politionele acties’ (Indonesian: Aksi Polisionil). This was the name for two, several-week-long, offensive operations by Dutch forces, during the Indonesian War of Independence. The operations took place on the islands of Java and Sumatra in the period of July 21 to August 5, 1947 (first action, "Operation Product") and December 19, 1948 to January 5, 1949 (second action, "Operation Crow"). Their purpose was to restore Dutch authority over certain areas.
The events depicted in De Oost are part of the colonial history of the Netherlands and Indonesia and the Indonesian struggle for independence. In recent years, there has been more attention to this history in the Netherlands, and specifically to the darker side of it. In April 2021, we interviewed author David van Reybrouck about the subject (video in Dutch).
Reception of the film
The film was met, even before its release, with heavy criticism from several groups. We recommend reading some of the articles below to give you a sense of the reactions. The articles are in Dutch because most of its media coverage was in Dutch media. To give some context of the historical events, our screenings of De Oost will be preluded by a short introduction.
Ophef rondom De Oost: ‘Westerling is een oorlogsmisdadiger, dát is míjn waarheid’
Kogelregen schiet z'n doel voorbij
De Oost verbeeldt op nietsontziende wijze een zwarte bladzijde in de Nederlandse geschiedenis
‘De Oost’ roept discussie op over het koloniale verleden. Waarom is dat zo erg?
This film will be shown at Filmhuis De Zwarte Doos. Buying a ticket online in advance is therefore mandatory if you want to attend this film. You can buy a ticket via the black “order” button on this page. Please note: you can only buy a ticket online; tickets are not purchasable with cash or bank card at the ticket counter.
Room opens 15 minutes before movie starts. Please make sure you are on time.
SG & USE registration
Please register your participation right away when attending the program on campus. Registration can be done by scanning your student card before the start of the program at the venue.
More information about SG & USE can be found here.