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still from Tjoet Nja' Dhien (Eros Djarot, ID 1988)

Tjoet Nja' Dhien

Eros Djarot / ID, 1988 / 110 min.

Epic anti-colonial film about the long, bloody struggle against colonial Dutch repression in the Sultanate of Aceh centring on the female guerrilla Tjoet Nja' Dhien. When her husband and rebel leader Teuku Umar dies in an ambush, Dhien decides to fight the Dutch colonial army herself and assembles the countless guerrillas of Aceh under her command.

poster Tjoet Nja' Dhien (Eros Djarot, ID 1988)
In 2006, Indonesian film critic Ade Irwansyah called this film the "peak achievement of [Indonesia's] film industry up till now." With its gripping story, true heroes and convincing villains, beautiful camera work, and the hugely popular Christine Hakim in the title role, his assessment seems right on the mark.

Aceh's independence came to an end in 1871, when the Dutch placed the sultanate in northern Sumatra under colonial rule. The Acehnese, however, put up a strong resistance, which two years later led to a bloody war. In 1880, Teuku Umar, one of the main guerrilla leaders, married Tjoet Nja' Dhien, who had also joined the resistance movement. When Umar died, Dhien emerged as the new, charismatic and fearless leader, a position she held for ten years. Her actions became legendary; in 1964 she was declared a national heroine. Director Eros Djarot tells her story. Tjoet Nja' Dhien can be seen in a fully restored version, done in 2017 by Eye Film Museum and the Indonesian Film Centre Foundation, in close collaboration with director Eros Djarot and producer Alwin Abdullah.

Eros Djarot (1950, Indonesia) is an Indonesian songwriter, director and politician who studied at the London International Film School. Having composed soundtracks for many films, including the successful Badai Pasti Berlalu, he made his directing debut in 1988 with the multiaward-winning Tjoet Nja' Dhien, a Caméra d'Or nominee at Cannes 1989.

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This movie contains scenes of violencePersons under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult


Eros Djarot

Production year




Original title

Tjoet Nja' Dhien


110 min.


Dutch, Indonesian





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Eye Classics

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still from Tjoet Nja' Dhien (Eros Djarot, ID 1988)
still from Tjoet Nja' Dhien (Eros Djarot, ID 1988)

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