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2000, 81 Minutes

The Diplomat follows East Timor's freedom fighter and Nobel Peace Prize winner José Ramos Horta in the final tumultuous year of his campaign to secure independence for his country.

The former Portuguese colony was invaded by Indonesia in 1975. Exiled soon after, José Ramos Horta exchanged his gun for the suit and tie of a diplomat. He spent 24 years as a roving ambassador, fighting to ensure the world did not forget East Timor's desire for freedom. His is a life driven not by personal political ambition but by the debt of blood he owes to fellow Timorese who have died in the conflict, including two brothers and a sister.

The Diplomat takes up Ramos Horta's story in the final dramatic stages of his long journey - the fall of Indonesia's President Suharto, the referendum to determine East Timor's future, the overwhelming vote for independence, the devastating carnage that ensued, the intervention of United Nations peacekeepers, and Ramos Horta's final triumphant return to his homeland.

José Ramos Horta allowed the filmmakers extraordinary access to his public and personal life. The film reveals his strengths and weaknesses, his moments of doubt and frustration, his anger and disappointment, his elation and triumph, his charm and his dry humour. Ramos Horta emerges as a tenacious and beguiling character whose role as a diplomat and peacemaker was crucial to achieving independence for his country.

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Emerald Films. Produced in association with SBS Independent. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Classification M 15+. Consumer advice: medium level violence, medium level coarse language.

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Producer: Sally Browning (Producer), Wilson da Silva (Co-Producer), Geoffrey Barter (Associate Producer)

Director: Tom Zubrycki

Featured People: Jose Ramos Horta

Year: 2000

Runnning Time: 81 Minutes

Classification: M 15+. Consumer advice: medium level violence,  medium level coarse language.

Region: 0

Curriculum Links: Colonial Rule in Southeast Asia; Colonialism and Nationalism in Southeast Asia; Genocide Studies; Modern History of Island Southeast Asia; Politics; International Relations: Small State Diplomacy; Southeast Asian Studies; Southeast Asian History.


East Timor – Birth of a Nation

Rosa’s Journey – The Story of a Nation

Policing the Pacific


SKU 199711000
Brand Film Australia

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