During the Indonesian War of Independence, a young Dutch recruit named Johan (Martijn Lakemeier) joins an elite army squad led by a man known as “The Turk” (Marwan Kenzari). As the fight against freedom fighters becomes increasingly brutal under the helm of the infamous captain, Johan is forced to reconsider his beliefs to the point of complete disillusionment.
2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the start of the Indonesian War of Independence.
This conflict has had a lasting impact on both The Netherlands and Indonesia. More than 2.000.000 people in the Netherlands today have a connection to Indonesia, and a large part of that group directly with the War of Independence. Yet this connection is unknown to many people living in The Netherlands – the story went untold for decades, and to this day, is sometimes even concealed.
Writer-director Jim Taihuttu is the great-grandson of a Moluccan KNIL-soldier who died fighting for the Dutch crown during the Indonesian War of Independence. Fearing for their lives, his family fled to the Netherlands after the war ended. Both at school and at home, the reason why his family had come to The Netherlands was never discussed while Taihuttu was growing up.
With his epic and extremely suspenseful film THE EAST, Jim Taihuttu delves into his roots and brings this underexposed history, which has determined his life and that of so many others, to the screen. THE EAST is the first film of its kind, telling an untold story based on true events that touched the lives of millions of Dutch people. At the end of 2020, THE EAST will put a major question mark behind all festivities that celebrate 75 years of freedom in the country that started a war of its own only months after the biggest war in European history came to an end.
THE EAST will be released in 2021.