DEC. 17, 2016

Tiga Dara (Three Maidens)

A film by Usmar Ismail
Indonesian language with English subtitle
122 minutes

// Anthology Film Archives, NYC

DEC. 17, 2016

Tiga Dara (Three Maidens)

A film by Usmar Ismail
Indonesian language with English subtitle
122 minutes

// Anthology Film Archives, NYC


Tiga Dara (meaning Three Maidens) is an classic musical movie debuted in 1965—made, produced and directed by Usmar Ismail. A prominent Indonesian film director in his era, Usmar Ismail was known internationally for 1961 film Fighters of Freedom which documented Indonesian independence from the Dutch and French. The film was entered into the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival.

Tiga Dara premiered in August 1957 at the Capitol Theatre in Jakarta and the film found popular success. It was screened for eight consecutive weeks in cinemas throughout the country, including several first-class cinemas affiliated with the American Motion Picture Association of Indonesia (AMPAI) which mostly showed imported films. Tiga Dara received Best Musical Arrangement in the 1960 Indonesian Film Week. In the late 1950s to early 1960s the film was shown in several cities in Italy, Yugoslavia, The Netherlands and Suriname.

By 2015 the cellulose acetate negatives for Tiga Dara were heavily damaged. They were torn in places, and scenes were besmirched by fungus or lost altogether. To better preserve the film for future generations, SA Films arranged for Tiga Dara to be restored by the Bologna-based L'immagine Ritrovata Laboratory. Restoration work, which included the reinsertion of lost scenes using extant copies of the film and the removal of dust and fungus, began in early 2015 and was completed on 8 October 2015.

The movie tells the story of three sisters—Nunung, Nana and Nenny—who live in Jakarta with their grandmother and widowed father, Sukandar. Concerned that the eldest, Nunung, might be getting too old to marry, the family does everything they can to arrange a match. When the father's colleagues are invited to hear Nunung sing and play the piano, they are truly impressed. However, the men are all too old, and grandmother insists that Sukandar find a younger man. A comedy of errors ensues, in which lovers are mismatched, and sisterly rivalry forces Nunung to take a break from the family and stay with her uncle in Bandung. She sends home a letter that provokes Toto's jealousy and he travels from Jakarta to Bandung to finally profess his love.
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