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Jesuits make film about first archbishop

Movie intends to portray Archbishop Albertus Soegijapranata's role in independence fight

Jesuits make film about first archbishop
Nirwan Dewanto (middle) and Jesuit Father Fransiskus Xaverius Murti Hadi Wijayanto (right)
Bambang Sugiharto, Yogyakarta

December 9, 2011

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Indonesia’s first indigenous archbishop will soon be immortalized on the big screen in a film production depicting his significant role in the country’s struggle for independence. The Audio-Visual Studio of the Yogyakarta-based Catechetical Center says shooting of Soegija – the nickname of late Jesuit Archbishop Albertus Soegijapranata of Semarang – began early last month at St. Joseph’s Church in the provincial capital of Central Java. The studio, which was set up by Jesuit priests in 1969, says the film will cost an estimated 12 billion rupiah (about US$1.3 million) to make and should be in theaters in June 2012 . “It is meant to be a patriotic film and not about sermons. Catholicism is the background of course, because Monsignor Soegijapranata was a Catholic leader. We, however, want to highlight his role as a national figurehead,” said the producer, Jesuit Father Fransiskus Xaverius Murti Hadi Wijayanto. A film like this should be produced, since “Monsignor Soegijapranata was a national hero. He was respected by young people while serving as an archbishop,” he added during film-making in Bintaran, Yogyakarta. The film is set during Indonesia’s struggle for independence during the 1940s. The late archbishop was heavily involved in this struggle, first against the Japanese invaders and later against the Dutch. He also was also involved in moving the state palace from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. Playing the late archbishop is Nirwan Dewanto, a Muslim actor. “We chose him because he looks like Monsignor Soegijapranata,” Father Wijayanto said. Dewanto said it will be a tough role to play but is fully prepared for the challenge after finding all about the archbishop from several Catholic priests. He believed the film will be a hit because of the patriotic theme. “It contains so many social messages but without being cluttered with Gospel quotations,” he added. Related Report: Film About Life And Works Of Jesuit Missionary Priest Launched    
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