No one was more disappointed than I when Mel Gibson went off the deep end last decade.
When my family got cable television in 1983, one of the first movies I watched during our free month of Cinemax was The Year of Living Dangerously.
Most Americans probably remember Mel Gibson’s rise to fame during the Mad Max movies, but for me it will always be his Guy Hamilton in The Year of Living Dangerously.
Set in Indonesia in 1965, Gibson’s character Hamilton is an Australian journalist who is sent to Jakarta for his first overseas assignment. Thinking it will be a humdrum gig, Hamilton soon finds himself in the throes of civil war. Sigourney Weaver plays his love interest, British diplomat Jill Bryant. Linda Hunt won an Oscar for her portrayal of half-Chinese photographer, Billy Kwan. A brilliant film all around.
It was through this movie that I was introduced to Indonesia at the age of 12. I loved the chimes of the gamelan, the clatter of the newsroom, and the sultry tropical evenings. My mom was traveling through Asia the summer prior to the Indonesian civil war, which marked the beginning of the end of President Sukarno’s reign.
Twenty-five years after the civil war, my mom and I spent a couple weeks in Indonesia, traveling through Java and on to Bali.
Although my mom had wanted to go to Indonesia back in 1965, she had other countries at the top of her list (Cambodia, Thailand, India, Afghanistan, among others) and didn’t have time. But when we arrived in Jakarta, and on to Yogyakarta, and finally Bail, she wondered why she had waited so long.