On November 21, 1945, in Sydney, Australia, Joris Ivens resigned as Film Commissioner of the Dutch East Indies. He disagreed with the Dutch decision to send troops and weapons to subdue the newly proclaimed Republic of Indonesia after Japan’s capitulation by force of arms.
After resigning, and with very limited financial resources, Ivens decided to make a film about the dock strikes which were being organized in Australia in solidarity with the Indonesian Republic. The events culminated in the return of the Patras, a ship that was forced to return to Sydney Harbour by its East Indian crew after leaving port carrying weapons to the Dutch forces in Indonesia.
Ivens reconstructed this feat in this short film, in the style of an instructional pamphlet, completed in the summer of 1946. The fact that Ivens had made an “anti-Dutch” film was held against him for many years by some of his fellow countrymen.