Garin Nugroho has never suffered a lack of colourful fantasies, but this can certainly be described as his most colourful and fantastic film ever. It is even exuberant. The film was made as part of the New Crowned Hope project: a Viennese initiative to mark the Mozart year under the artistic direction of Peter Sellers, with former Rotterdam director Simon Field responsible for the film section.
Nugroho translated the grandeur of classic opera with his stirring combination of music, drama and setting to match the musical and dramatic format of his country and culture. In that mix, you could say he invented a new art form in which modern dance, music and drama are mixed with traditional styles. As in every opera, there is also a story under the lively spectacle. Here, it is derived from the Ramayana, a narrative poem, thousands of years old, about Prince Rama and his wife Sita who are kidnapped by the demon Ravana. Nugroho did not restrict himself to the courtly story, but made a parallel with the potters Setyo and Siti who are put to the test in their marital fidelity, just like Rama and Sita were. The film is not only rich in its realisation and staging, but also in its many secondary themes that refer to social issues from the more or less precolonial era portrayed here. (GjZ)

Filmmaker
Garin Nugroho
Country
Indonesia, Austria
Year
2006
Medium
35mm
Length
120’
Language
Javanese
Producer
Garin Nugroho, Simon Field
Production Company
SET Film Workshop, New Crowned Hope, Illuminations Films
Sales
Pyramide International
Writer
Garin Nugroho
Cinematography
Teoh Gay Hian
Editor
Andhy Pulung
Production Design
Nanang Rakhmat Hidayat
Sound Design
Pahlevi Indra C. Santoso
Music
Rahayu Supanggah
Cast
Artika Sari Devi, Martinus Miroto
Website
http://inter.pyramidefilms.com/pyramide-internoational-catalogue-o/opera-jawa.html