Catch black-and-white film Setan Jawa with live music from gamelan group and Singapore Metropole

The film Setan Jawa will be accompanied by live music from an Indonesian gamelan ensemble and Singapore's Metropolitan Festival Orchestra.
The film Setan Jawa will be accompanied by live music from an Indonesian gamelan ensemble and Singapore's Metropolitan Festival Orchestra.PHOTO: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

When you watch the black- and-white 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.

  • BOOK IT / SETAN JAWA

  • WHERE: Esplanade Concert Hall, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: July 21, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $25 to $65 (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

    INFO: www.pestaraya.com

 
 
 
 

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."

Nabilah Said

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2017, with the headline 'Black-and-white film with live music'. Print Edition | Subscribe