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a Son of Porto

Nineteen-year-old Bendja was born in the Netherlands, but his roots are in Moluccas. His father, writer Frans Lopulalan, understands his son’s desire to touch Moluccan soil; he shares that wish. The two decide to travel to the village of Porto on Saparua island, where Frans’ deceased father, a former KNIL soldier, used to live. Verhaagen follows them on their trip to the tropics. A trip that the two men experience in different ways. Frans writes a lot and visits the ground where his father’s house once stood. Bendja dives into the daily village life. He also wonders if he shouldn’t resume his ancestors’ battle. Frans has mixed feelings about this: ‘I hope he can identify with being Moluccan without it necessarily causing him to reject his life in Holland.’ The personal experiences of father and son Lopulalan are complemented by significant archive footage.


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