Titanwijck? Not Quite, But a Good Movie!

Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck (The Sinking of van der Wijck) — that’s how we spent Christmas Day’s afternoon, over at Setia Budi, where I first dwelt when I came to Jakarta.

It’s a film based on a novel, by a guy named Hamka, so I gather, set in the 1930s. a romantic drama, tragedy I suppose, though the sad ending is brought about by the leading lady’s own inconstancy.

Before continuing on the subject of the film, I learned, while checking the cast-list for spelling, that the novel was, fifty years ago, at the centre of a ferocious debate, due to charges, still unproven, of plagiarism. The enemies of the author were largely activists from the Communist front outfit called Lekra, so I’m on Hamka’s side!

Right…where was I?

The heroine’s a cute Sumatran lass, but coerced into abandoning her true love by a bunch of obnoxious Minangkabau elders, a more ignorant, arrogant gang it’s hard to imagine.

Anyway, she weds their favoured candidate, a snotty rich rake, and the poor rival slopes off, ordered out of town by the same old morons. But lo, he becomes a successful writer, ends up in Surabaya, and who comes to live in that fair city with her wastrel husband but…yes,  you guessed!



Zainuddin, the hero, is played,by Herjunot Ali – that’s him on the right in the poster. And his love is Hayati. Pevita Pearce just gets prettier as the film progresses, though her marriage to Aziz (Reza Rahadian, on the left) just gets more and more awful.

BTW, I’d expected a local version of Titanic, but in fact the proportion of the action that occurs on the Van Wijk is minimal.



I don’t believe in spoiling movies for prospective viewers by spilling the plot across any review I attempt, but I can recommend this one, not least for the cinematic artistry, perhaps at its best in the party scene at Zainuddin’s posh Surabaya house.

I enjoyed the yarn, enjoyed the film better than Soekarno, which is the other new film out this month, which I reviewed last week.

Oya, mustn’t forget the hero’s loyal side-kick, Muluk, played by Randy Danistha. He’s an excellent actor..

Soraya Intercine Films     Director: Sunil Soraya

Producers: Ram Soraya, Sunil Soraya