Confession at the threshold of heavens gate

A film by Hans Hylkema

How a snapshot from a discarded family album sixty-five years later turned the soul of an Indonesian veteran upside down.

Indonesian veteran Harry Nouwen recognizes himself on an amateur picture that shows the execution of twenty Indonesians, published in 2012 by daily newspaper De Volkskrant. After sixty-five years of silence he then wants nothing more than to finally offering transparency about it. He wants to come to terms with himself, before he will meet Peter at the gates of heaven. And he wants to do that in front of a similar piece of glass as that of the lens of the camera, through which his fellow soldier photographed him as he crouched in the ditch with all those dead bodies around him.

The film is about the story of Harry Nouwen, but implicitly also touches on larger issues such as the reliability of the memory and the role that conscience plays. What is the weight of the vow of silence for a soldier and is committing a murder in commission of a government something else than committing a murder on ones own initiative? And are The Netherlands more hypocrite or scrupulous in displaying their black pages of history than other countries?