Under the Tree (2008)

85% – Critics
62% – Audience

Under the Tree Storyline

Three women looking for answers of their life in Bali

Under the Tree Photos

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Under the Tree Movie Reviews

A Snapshot of three women under the banyan tree

Garin has done it again. As always, his movie is not a narration, but a poetic description. This time the story took place in Bali, a magical place, where everyday lives is penetrated by the mystical aura. The entire movie is filled by traditional chanting that really gives the spirit of the movie. Thanks god I watched the movie in subtitles, otherwise it will be totally unintelligible.

The drama is described by the lives of three women, a traveler seeking spiritual answer about her relation to her mother played by Marcella Zalianty, a radio broadcaster who faced a dilemma of abortion played by Ayu Laksmi, and an orphan who lose direction of live and trying to find guidance played by Nadia Saphira. All of them in one way are connected to motherhood, either longing for a mother, being a mother, loosing a mother, conflicting with mother, etc. All of them find their roots in Bali, either as resident, descendant or just traveler.

The movie doesn’t tell a story line, a beginning, a climax, and an ending. It simply brings you to a situation faced by those women. It tells you that being a woman is not a simple business. It lets you think by yourselves, what if you face those dilemma on your own. And the movie doesn’t provide any solution. For normal movie viewers, it might look like a very boring movie. There many many symbols in the movie that makes the movie digestible. For instance the Calon Arang plays, that shows a mother’s love, that surpass anything even though her offspring is a villain. And also the story of Gandhari of the Kauravas, whose jealousy to Kunti gave birth to the hundred sons of the Kauravas. Not all dilemma are mystical and complicated. One is very simple, a story of a jealous woman, which portrayed brilliantly as well as comically in the movie that bring spontaneous laugh.

Initially I wonder, what is the relation between to movie to a tree. Until I realized that there are banyan tree in the surrounding, and they all lived literally under the tree. The tree is the mother, the mother of all nature.

This movie is featured by many leading Balinese artist, the 90-years-old Ni Ketut Cenik, the 70-years-old Ni Ketut Arini, the beautiful doctor-dancer Ayu Bulantrisna Djelantik, and the exotic I Ketut Rina, and also all the kecak dancers. It also accompanied by the brilliant performance of two male actors, Dwi Sasono and Ikranegara.