The Year of Living Dangerously

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The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 Peter Weir film adapted from the novel The Year of Living Dangerously by the author Christopher Koch. The story is about a love affair set in Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno. It follows a group of foreign correspondents in Jakarta on the eve of an attempted coup by the so-called 30 September Movement in 1965 during the beginning of the violent reprisals by military-led vigilante groups who killed hundreds of thousands.

The film stars Mel Gibson as Guy Hamilton, an Australian journalist, and Sigourney Weaver as Jill Bryant, a British Embassy officer. It also stars Linda Hunt as the male dwarf Billy Kwan, Gibson's local photographer contact, a role for which Hunt won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[1] The film was shot in both Australia and the Philippines and includes Australian actors Bill Kerr as Colonel Henderson and Noel Ferrier as Wally O'Sullivan.

It was banned from being shown in Indonesia until 1999.[2] The title The Year of Living Dangerously is a quote which refers to a famous Italian phrase used by Sukarno; vivere pericolosamente, meaning "living dangerously". Sukarno borrowed the line for the title of his Indonesian Independence Day speech of 1964.

Contents

Plot

Guy Hamilton, a neophyte foreign correspondent for an Australian network, arrives in Jakarta on assignment. He meets the close-knit members of the foreign correspondent community including journalists from the UK, the US and New Zealand, diplomatic personnel, and a Chinese-Australian dwarf of high intelligence and moral seriousness, Billy Kwan. Hamilton is initially unsuccessful because his predecessor, tired of life in Indonesia, had departed without introducing Hamilton to his contacts. Guy receives limited sympathy from the journalist community, which competes for scraps of information from Sukarno's government, the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), and the conservative Muslim military. However, Kwan takes a liking to Hamilton and arranges interviews for him with key political figures.

Kwan introduces Hamilton to Jill Bryant, a beautiful young assistant at the British embassy. Kwan and Bryant are close friends, and he subtly manipulates her encounters with Hamilton. After resisting Hamilton because she's returning to the UK, Bryant falls in love with him. Discovering that the Communist Chinese are arming the PKI, Bryant passes this information to Hamilton to save his life, but he wants to cover the Communist rebellion that will occur when the arms shipment reaches Jakarta. Shocked, Kwan and Bryant withdraw their friendship from Hamilton, and he is left with the American journalist Pete Curtis, and his own assistant and driver Kumar, who is secretly PKI. Kumar, however, remains loyal to Hamilton and tries to open his eyes to all that is going on.

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