Films & Schedules

  • Under the Tree
    Dibawah Pohon

  • Garin Nugroho

Bahasa Indonesia
104 minutes

Production Company:
Oro-Oro Film Arts
Executive Producer:
Hanny Tanumihardja
Garin Nugroho, Dinna Jasanti
Garin Nugroho, Armantono
Production Designer:
Budi Riyanto
Yadi Sugandi
Andhy Pulung
Adityawan Susanto
Kadek Suardana, Wiwiex Soedarno
Principal Cast: Marcella Zalianty, Nadia Saphira, Ayu Laksmi, Dwi Sasono, Ikranagara

Friday September 0507:45PM VARSITY 6 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 0607:30PM VARSITY 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1305:45PM VARSITY 7 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Following the provocative Opera Jawa, master Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho once again delves into magic realism with Under the Tree, a film set entirely on the island of Bali. For the first time, Nugroho brings five powerful Balinese dance maestros together, resulting in performances that are powerfully spiritual. These dances form the metaphysical backbone to the story of three women of different ages who each seek redemption from their personal anguish.

The Hindu island of Bali is a place rife with tradition and the occult. Musical chants are a part of everyday life, as are ceremonies and offerings to the spirits and gods. The title Under the Tree refers to both the karmic belief in the cycles of nature as well as the concepts of birth, death and parenthood.

The three principal characters are referred to as “seeds.” The first is twenty-seven-year-old outsider Maharani, who seeks the truth behind her parentage. She is told by a Balinese mystic to learn the ways of the dancers under the tutelage of a renowned Ubud performer. But her journey leads her to more questions than answers, including undeserved run-ins with the police that shake her belief in the country's law and judiciary.

The second seed is the forty-year-old Balinese songstress and radio host Dewi. Her troubled pregnancy forces her to choose between abortion or possible stillbirth. In one of the film's most stunning moments, she angrily questions her fate by singing an anguished, improvised chant. The final seed is the teenaged girl Nian, who seeks a paternal role model in Bali after her own father is imprisoned for corruption.

Though moments of joy and beauty abound (like the sweet love story between the Ubud master dancer and his secret admirer), the three tales end on a darker note, reflecting the reality of life in Indonesia, fraught with vice, poverty and desperation.

Raymond Phathanavirangoon

Garin Nugroho Rivanto was born in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He spent several years as an instructor of film and television at Institut Kesenian Jakarta. He has directed several documentaries, including Tepuk Tangan (86), Menyuling Minyak (88), Tanah Tantangan di Nusa Tenggara Timur (89), Icon Sebuah Peta Budaya (02) and Teak Leaves and the Temples (08). His dramatic features include Love on a Slice of Bread (91), Letter to an Angel (94), And the Moon Dances (95), Bird Man's Tale (02), Of Love and Eggs (04) and Opera Jawa (06). Under the Tree (08) is his most recent film.

Cadillac People's Choice Award