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Under the Tree

Garin Nugroho
Dibawah pohon
Indonesia 2008 / 104’

Under the Tree is a poetic story of three women, full of the magic of the Bali culture.The director invited the best traditional dancers and choreographers to work with him. Their ritual art is the background and the deep sense of the told stories. In Bali, even now life is a never-ending sequence of festivals and ceremonies in which the entire community takes part.Three main characters struggle with the most difficult moments of their lives. The oldest of them learns that her child will be born severely deformed, another comes to Bali in search for her roots and identity, and the youngest follows an elderly dancer step by step, finding in him her longing for her absent father. Their search for identity, relief and answers to impossible questions, is matched everywhere by dance and ritual songs originating from the wisdom of many generations of inhabitants of Bali. With subtle humour and realism, the director depicts a world which has preserved a unique, rich religion and deep understanding of the concept of community. Omni-present poverty, corrupt politicians and the deplorable condition women live in - these are elements of the sad everyday life of inhabitants of this Indonesian island, where the complexity of cycles of life is celebrated with dance and meditation.

Agnieszka Zając

Garin Nugroho 

Born in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1961. After graduating from the Law Department at the University of Indonesia, he began studies at the Institute of Fine Arts in his hometown Institut Kesenian Jakarta where he then worked as a lecturer. He supports young Indonesian filmmakers, and is a film critic and a columnist. He has made more than forty short films and documentaries on difficult and important social issues. Under the Treeis his seventh feature film. His Requiem from Java (Opera Jawa) was screened at the ENH 2007.

Selected filmography

1984 Gerbong satu, dua / Wagon 1,2 (short)

1991 Cinta dalam sepotong roti / Love is a Slice of Bread

1998 My Family, My Film and My Nation (doc)

1998 Daun di atas bantal / Leaf on a Pillow

2002 Aku ingin menciummu sekali saja / Bird Man's Tale

2006 Opera Jawa / Requiem from Java

2008 Dibawah pohon / Under the Tree