Don't Talk About Freedom
Born in a military family, Harry Roesli and his band led a resistance against the oppressive Indonesian military government through their music album in 1973 called “Philosophy Gang”. This album marked as the first act of Harry Roesli’s rebellion.
The film opens in 1966, when Indonesia was shocked by the opening of access to Western culture by the Suharto regime. Almost overnight, Suharto seized power from President Sukarno, who wanted the country to develop its own cultural identity that is not mimicking the West. Suddenly, on one hand, Indonesian youngsters became excited with the prospect of freedom of expression, but on the other hand, the Suharto regime was also very strict in repressing people’s ideas and opinions. Although the middle class became more comfortable and less concerned with tradition and identity, they could not express any sentiment against the government.
Harry Roesli is a grandchild of an Indonesian pioneer writer. He grew up in a military family. He was fed up with his environment. He refused to live a good life and spent his life opposing the New Order regime that Suharto established. He started the Philosophy Gang to find a way to spread the spirit of rebellion through popular music. The band decided to release a phenomenal rock album, “Philosophy Gang”, which wasn’t able to hit the market, but broke the conservative artistic movement and encouraged the modernization of Indonesian music. “Philosophy Gang“ marked their existence as a band. From stage to stage, they started to incite their audiences to revolt against the new regime, which attracted police attention. One day, he was arrested and thrown to jail. Aware of his family background, he used it as a tool to continue to revolt.
Even though his albums never gained commercial success and was widely forgotten for four decades, Harry Roesli’s works caught the attention of the international public and has influenced the growth of Indonesian music. Not only his works, his spirit also remained in Indonesian youngsters.