Tiger from Tjampa

Tiger from Tjampa
Tiger from Tjampa
Directed by D. Djayakusuma
Produced by D. Djayakusuma
Written by D. Djayakusuma
Screenplay by Alwi Dahlan
Starring Bambang Hermanto, Nurnaningsih, Titi Savitri, Wahid Chan, Raden Ismail, Malin Maradjo
Music by E. Sambas
Cinematography Max Tera
Editing by Sumardjono
Distributed by PERFINI
Release date(s) 1953 (1953)
Running time 97 minutes
Country Indonesia
Language Indonesian

Tiger from Tjampa (Indonesian: Harimau Tjampa) is an Indonesian Black and white drama film released in 1953, produced by PERFINI, written and directed by D. Djayakusuma. Djayakusuma's The Tiger from Tjampa is still highly regarded today in Indonesia as an early portrayal in a fiction film of aspects of a traditional regional culture. Despite the numerous combat scenes as well as scenes of students practicing pencak silat (with lessons conducted by a famous master, who appears in the film), Tiger from Tjampa was never presented as a Martial arts film.

D. Djayakusuma won Best Scenario for this film at the 1st Indonesian Film Festival held in 1955.



Set in the 1930s, and narrated like a ballad from the past, The Tiger from Tjampa tells of how a young man, Lukman (Bambang Hermanto). He seeks to avenge his father's murder by learning silat (pencak silat), Indonesia's traditional form of self defence, based on the movements of animals. The pencak silat seen in the film is regionally specific to West Sumatra.

Lukman pleaded to Datuk Langit (Raden Ismail) to teach him, but the man asked him for three buffalos as payment which was too much for him. Lukman then witnessed a man beat his opponent in a fight quiet easily and begged him to teach him silat. The man agreed to teach Lukman under the condition that his silat is not for oppressing the weak, but for self defense only. However, Lukman broke the promise numerous times, but every time his teacher always forgave him until his lesson was complete. Lukman once again defied his teacher by killing a gambler, he was then imprisoned.

In jail, Lukman learned that Datuk Langit was responsible for his father's death. He managed to escaped from the prison and confront Datuk Langit. He finally defeated Datuk Langit then turn over both Datuk Langit and himself to the authorities.

The Tiger from Tjampa is by no means a simple story of revenge, but is really an exploration of the practise and philosophical bases of pencak silat, and its relation to Islamic values. Lukman is repeatedly shown to be intemperate, and easily provoked. Besides learning silat, Lukman must also learn perseverance and self restraint. He must learn to "tunggu sabar" i.e remain patient.


Filmed largely on location in 1953 in the villages in West Sumatra (the region of the matrilineal Minangkabau people), The Tiger from Tjampa is exceptional in its evocation of a unique region and milieu. Apart from some of the main actors, almost everything in the film is from West Sumatra. All the film's varied music is from West Sumatra, and so are its dances. In its dialogue the film strikingly uses 'peribahasa' - maxims and proverbs handed down for generations within the oral culture - with their characteristic lilting Minangkabau rhythms. As well, the film displays the intense spirit of community that underlies educational practises in an oral culture.

Djayakusuma, who took this project over from Usmar Ismail, is remembered in Indonesia as one of the first to make feature films in regional areas after their independence. Both as a filmmaker, and as a teacher at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts, Djayakusuma's advocacy for a cinema engaging with the regions influenced younger generations of directors to follow his example, among those being Slamet Rahardjo and Garin Nugroho.


D. Djayakusuma received the Best Scenario award at the Indonesian Film Festival in 1955.


Tiger from Tjampa raised controversy when the female lead role, Nurnaningsih appeared half naked on the screen. Something that was never happen in Indonesian cinema before.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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