Literally translated, the title means “The Moon Pierced by Wild Grass,” and the film tells the story of the relationship between an aged traditional song teacher named Waluyo, his folk music disciple Ilalang (who has to cope with memories of his abusive father) and the lovely dancer Bulan, who Ilalang has loved for a long time.
The feature is set in Solo, where the vestiges of feudal Javanese culture can still be found, and gamelan music is heard throughout. It is an intensely emotional meditation upon the relationship between the generations and the role of music in the search for recovery from a traumatic past and for identity in an uncertain present.
Director Garin Nugroho, who has described himself as “a Javanese living amidst multiculturalism,” and who celebrates Indonesian cultural diversity in such films as A Poet, here explores Javanese culture. He sees this film as “encompassing at the same time refinement and cruelty, softness and tyranny, and a beauty based on feudalism.”
Awards/Festivals: Best Director Award, Nantes International Film Festival. Special Jury Prize at the Nantes Three Continent Film Festival.