Private Project

After Multatuli left

In 1860 'Max Havelaar, the bestseller by the famous Dutch writer Multatuli was first published. "The book that killed colonialism”, according to the renowned Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananata Toer. 'Max Havelaar' is a story about the abuse of power and exploitation of the natives by the Dutch colonial government in cooperation with the local feudal rulers in the former Dutch East Indies. It is based on Multatuli’s own experiences during his time as a colonial civil servant in the district of Lebak on Java. In the book, the love story of Saïdjah and Adinda from the hamlet Badur represents the suffering of the peasants. It is a story about humanism, love and heroism.

In the one and a half century after it was written, the book was translated into 43 languages. It inspired anti-colonial activists all over the world. Many scholars focused on Multatuli’s personal life and have reflected on whether the book is a work of fact or fiction. But no one seems to have ever asked the question: what happened to the oppressed people of Lebak, who Multatuli stood up for?

The documentary film ‘After Multatuli Left’ tries to find out what has or has not changed since then. In Lebak, the film follows the trail of Arjan Onderdenwijngaard in 1987. While revisiting Badur more recently, he will meet some of the people he filmed 32 years ago and ask them how their lives have been since then. The book 'Max Havelaar' and footage from 1987 represent the main references for this documentary.

  • Yogi D. Sumule
  • Ario Sasongko
  • Bonnie Triyana
  • Arjan Onderdenwijngaard
  • Yogi D. Sumule
  • Arjan Onderdenwijngaard
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Setelah Multatuli pergi
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 15, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    35,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Dutch, Indonesian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Erasmushuis
    February 19, 2021
    Online Premiere
  • Docs Without Borders Film Festival
    United States
    April 3, 2021
    Official selection + winner
  • Indonesian Film Festival
    April 30, 2022
    The Netherlands
    Official selection
  • Film Festival Dokumenter
    November 18, 2022
    Official selection + finalist long documentary
  • Baliwood Bali - World Independent Short Film Awards (WISFA)
    November 20, 2023
    Official selection
Director Biography - Yogi D. Sumule

After graduating from Information Technology Undergraduate Program in 1997, Yogi got inspired to make movies, both fictions and documentary about minorities in Indonesian society and culture.
He then moved to Sydney, Australia, to learn about movie making in KvB College and North Sydney Institute.

Back in Indonesia since 2012, he has worked for several movies, music videos, commercials and documentaries in different roles. He was the director of: the short movies “1:0”, and "Baik!", a short documentary for ZOOMIN TV- Netherlands, the making of Album IV Arireda and the BTS documentary of the movie "Radit dan Jani”. He directed video profiles of the National Nuclear Energy Body (BATAN) and of the Ministry of Labor and Transmigration (now Kemenaker). He worked as the assistant director of the movie "Ruang" by Teddy Soeriaatmadja. He also was the producer for several other projects and was the production supervisor for the TV series "Beranda Pak RT" in 2020.

The film "Setelah Multatuli Pergi" (After Multatuli Left), Sebelas Filmworks, 2020 is his first feature documentary as director.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

At the end of 2018, Arjan contacted me telling me about his intention to return to Lebak, re-tracing the place and, if possible, reuniting with the people he had filmed when he first visited Lebak in 1987 to celebrate of the 100th anniversary of Multatuli's death.

Two centuries after Multatuli has left Lebak the people have experienced several administrations: the Dutch, the Japanese, the Old Order, the New Order, and the Post-reformation. But, why in 2018, Lebak is still considered as one of the 122 underdeveloped districts in Indonesia?

I became familiar with the name Multatuli and Lebak when I read his novel Max Havelaar in high school, yet never have I heard any of my close friends mentioning them. And even though Lebak was one of the places closest to where I lived, I never once set foot there. Is Lebak and Multatuli that unfamiliar to many Indonesians?

“After Multatuli Left” is our way of questioning and portraying the reality the cast has lived in since Arjan’s visit in 1987. With this film, we hope that Lebak will be heard again. We believe that the language of film is a powerful and unique medium for communicating to audiences everywhere the timeless and touching issues that have an impact on the world in which we live.

And hopefully the people of Lebak will not have to continue to find their way alone.