Main Cast : Peter Faber - Max Havelaar
Rutger Hauer - Duclari
Rima Melati - Saidjah
Screenplay: Fons Rademakers and Gerard Soeteman from the book by Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker) “Max Havelaar, of De koffieveilingen der Nederlandse Handelsmaatschappij” (“Max Havelaar or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company”)
T.V. Episodes Titles :
- De Gordel van Smargd (part one)
- De Benoeming in Lebak (part two)
- De Man van Lebak (part three)
- En Dat Gebeurt in Uw Naam (part four)
Plot: It’s the life of Max Havelaar who struggles against the status quo of imperialism rules set by Dutch people in their Indonesian colonies. The film immediately gets into two incidents - the theft of a much-loved buffalo from a native boy, Saidjah, and the poisoning of Havelaar’s predecessor, Slotering, at a banquet given by the local Regent.
The Java environment exudes a menacing character even by day - nature is a physical presence in this film and Max is confronted with the hostility not only of the people, but of the forest too.
Max is a strong man – he stands out from his fellow functionaries by virtue of his proud, assertive gaze and his dynamic conduct. In his opening address to the assembled chiefs and colleagues at the station, he says “If we paid the chiefs well, they would not have to steal from the people”. Married to a plain, loyal wife, he dreams of pretty girls in France but clings to his family responsibilities.
Max’s refusal to compromise, together with his impetuous character, shown wittily in various moments, drag him into mortal combat with the “system”. Another point in the film shows the insidious alliance between religious zeal and colonial exploitation – the one masking and justifying the other.
Authentic locations were found for the shooting of this movie.
They even found the actual house in central Java where Havelaar/Multatuli (1820-1887) was stationed - it was owned by the very prince who in the film plays a devious Regent.
The Governor-General’s mansion, which can be often seen during the film, was occupied by the late President Soekarno.