Silent film set to live game­lan

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Art - By NABILAH SAID Se­tan Jawa will be show­ing at Es­planade Con­cert Hall in Sin­ga­pore on July 21. More info: www.sis­tic.com.sg or www.pes­taraya.com.

WHEN you watch the black-and­white silent film Se­tan Jawa (2016), you will get a glimpse of cel­e­brated In­done­sian di­rec­tor Garin Nu­groho’s home in Yo­gyakarta in some of the scenes.

The “rumah joglo”, or tra­di­tional Ja­vanese house, was built in the 1890s, roughly the same era the film is set in.

The 56-year-old says with a laugh: “It’s big and run­down. There was a lot of gos­sip about my house. It was funny, but the house was scary for some peo­ple.”

The 70-minute film, about a man who makes a deal with the devil for love, will show in Sin­ga­pore as part of Pesta Raya on July 21.

It will be ac­com­pa­nied by live mu­sic from a 20-piece In­done­sian game­lan en­sem­ble, Game­lan Garasi Seni Be­nawa, and Sin­ga­pore’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan Fes­ti­val Orches­tra.

The work is com­mis­sioned by the Es­planade along­side Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne and Mel­bourne Sym­phony Orches­tra. It made its pre­miere in Aus­tralia in Fe­bru­ary.

Com­posers Ra­hayu Su­pang­gah from In­done­sia and Iain Grandage from Aus­tralia took about a year to com­pose the score for the project.

The cast con­sists mainly of Ja­vanese dancers, with the ex­cep­tion of main ac­tress As­mara Abi­gail, who prac­tises pole-danc­ing, tango and fla­menco. In mak­ing Se­tan Jawa, Garin says he was in­spired by wayang kulit, or shadow pup­petry.

“Shadow pup­petry is ba­si­cally a form of silent movie. It also forms an im­por­tant part of the his­tory of cinema.”

Ger­man silent film Nos­fer­atu (1922), which he re­mem­bers watch­ing as a stu­dent in Jakarta in 1982, was also a source of in­spi­ra­tion.

Three years ago, he caught a screen­ing of Nos­fer­atu in Jakarta, with a live score by a Ber­lin orches­tra.

He says: “The as­pect of live per­for­mance is very im­por­tant. It in­vites the au­di­ence to have a di­rect par­tic­i­pa­tion with the art­work. It brings it to life.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Net­work

— Handout

The In­done­sian film Se­tan Jawa, which plays at the Es­planade in Sin­ga­pore on July 21, will be ac­com­pa­nied by live mu­sic from an In­done­sian game­lan en­sem­ble and Sin­ga­pore’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan Fes­ti­val Orches­tra.

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