Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto (2015) Movie Synopsis, Review, and Analysis
Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto (2015) Movie Synopsis, Review, and Analysis

Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto (2015) Movie Synopsis, Review, and Analysis

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Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto is a 2015 biographical drama directed by Garin Nugroho, a well-known Indonesian senior filmmaker. The film follows the life story of Tjokroaminoto, a legendary Indonesian national hero, who founded the Islamic organization “Sarekat Islam.” The story revolves around Tjokroaminoto’s major contributions towards the movement against colonialism and injustices in Indonesia. In this review, we will discuss the synopsis, analysis, and review of the movie, which is now available on Netflix.


The movie takes us back to Surabaya, 1912, where we see Tjokroaminoto being interrogated in a jail over his involvement in an event in Garut. The movie goes on to portray the life story of Tjokroaminoto, from the beginning of his struggle up to his death. Tjokroaminoto’s work in a rubber factory made him realize that the factory owners were unjust to the workers, compelling him to resign and move to Semarang in search of a new direction. He met a businessman, who referred him to Surabaya, where he founded the Sarekat Islam organization to address the issues of Indonesian people.

Leading the organization, Tjokroaminoto became known as a charismatic leader and skilled writer, which helped the organization attract significant publicity. The organization’s aim was to empower the Indonesian people, including the less fortunate communities who suffered the most from colonialism. His impact and influence were profound, and many young Indonesian leaders who were inspired by him lived in his residence and supported his cause. Tjokroaminoto’s charming personality facilitated him to diminish and forestall potential squabbles between indigenous locals and immigrant Chinese people, thus gaining recognition and respect among his people.

However, some of Tjokroaminoto’s followers joined Sneevliet, a socialist Dutch figure, who had different ideas from Tjokroaminoto, leading to the organization’s split. An incident in Garut resulted in Tjokroaminoto’s arrest, but he fought back through his writings to disprove the accusations. Eventually, he was reunited with his family, but his wife passed away while he was delivering a speech to his followers. The movie ends with Tjokroaminoto’s wife’s passing and his return to his family.
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Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto is a historic movie that has a significant impact and has been praised for its historic accuracy. The movie portrays Tjokroaminoto as a charismatic figure who impacted the Indonesian community during the colonialism movement. The protagonist is presented as a man with imperfections, including conflicts within his organization, which help to humanize him.

The film draws attention to the character’s complex personality, leadership style, and his contribution towards the Indonesian struggle for independence. The director balances the artistic elements of the movie with historical facts, making this film both informative and emotionally charged. The movie depicts the life of Tjokroaminoto as a father, politician, journalist, and mentor, who inspired other young leaders to follow in his footsteps.

Garind Nugroho’s direction of the film is noteworthy. The cinematography brings out the beauty of Indonesia’s diverse landscapes and cultures. The film is beautifully filmed, sometimes using techniques like slow-motion and cross-cutting, which makes it emotionally charged. Moreover, it showcases the traditional art and music of Indonesia, giving a true essence of the country to the audience.


Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto is a must-watch movie. It is a biographical drama that showcases the true spirit of Indonesian nationalism. Garin Nugroho’s direction and artistic skills make the movie a visual treat, bringing an intricate balance between the artistic aspects and historical precision. The lead actor, Reza Rahadian, has beautifully embraced the character of Tjokroaminoto. Overall, the movie’s excellent cinematography, direction, and acting make it a masterpiece in Indonesian cinema history. If you are interested in learning about the Indonesian struggle for independence, then Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto is undoubtedly worth watching.

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An experienced film review writer writing on blogs and online media. He is known for his candid and detailed views in writing film reviews.

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