It started with the murder of seven generals in Jakarta, on 12 October 1965. Suharto's government blamed the Communist rebels and ordered a gulf of arrests and executions. Estimates of the number of victims vary from half a million to two million.
The poet Ibrahim Kadir, from rebellious Aceh province, was accused of being a Communist activist and jailed for 28 days.
In A Poet, Kadir plays himself and filmmaker Nugroho reinterprets the mass murder and 'the wounds of history'. Largely innocent prisoners, brought together by hellish conditions and the threat of execution, determine the rhythm of the film by singing traditional 'didong' poetry with Kadir. Many of the actors had personal experience of the tragedy. Almost immediately after Suharto's resignation, Indonesian films began addressing the purges of the 1960s. A Poet appeared just two years after the resignation.