He was a powerful man: Raden Mas Rangsang (1591-1645). In 1613, he succeeded his father as the new ruler of the Javanese kingdom of Mataram. His official name was Sultan Agung, but many call him Agung the Great. He dreamed of uniting all the kingdoms of Java, only the VOC, the trading company of the Dutch Republic, stood in the way of his aims. At first he got along well with the Dutch, but when they occupied fort Jacatra (later Batavia and still later Jakarta), he decided to take up arms against them. It brought him eternal fame: he is still honoured as a guardian of Javanese traditions and fighter against Dutch colonialism.
Directors Hanung Bramantyo and X. Jo filmed all episodes from Agung's life in a grand and compelling way, using Yogyakarta as the location. Dutch actor Hans de Kraker, unknown here, but famous in Indonesia, plays the role of Jan Pieterszoon Coen.
HANUNG BRAMANTYO (1975, Indonesia) is an award-winning Indonesian director. Following his feature-length debut Brownies (2004), he directed various commercial films before making religious-themed, critical box-office hit Verses of Love (Ayat-Ayat Cinta) in 2008. He co-directed Sultan Agung, which shows “how power, money, and love … [can] determine the fate of a nation”.