Film 'Noesa Penida' (Galeb Husin, 1988)

This rendering of this film - also known as 'Penida Islands' - was made possible by the Jakarta Film Institute (Gedung Pusat Perfilman, Sinematik, Jakarta; 26 November 2007). I would like to extend my gratitude to Melanja Palitta at Balans Lab at for converting this film into an online version. See 'Sources' below.

Bali in the 19th century: The Dutch have established control over Karang Asem but the kings of Lombok continue to resist. Gusti Ayu Pandan Sari, the daughter of a king who is killed resisting the Dutch, is placed in the fishing village of Kosame (1) where she is raised by I Murde and I Kompyong, two of her father's retainers.

As a teenager, Pandan Sari falls in live with I Jaya, the son of I Murde, an impermissible situation because of their difference in caste, the penalty for which is death or exile to Penida Island. A higher caste woman can marry a lower caste man only with the permission of the king and only is she is willing to be lowered in caste and be expelled from her family. While the king had hoped to take Pandan Sari as a concubine, on the advice of Pedande Istana, he grants Pandan Sari's request and Pandan Sari returns to Kosambe (1) as a woman of lower caste. I Jaya who, with his friend Daeng Azis, a Buginese sailor, has been smuggling weapons one day becomes involved in a fight which ends with the death of his opponent. For this crime he is sentenced to the years of exile to Penida Island but a mistaken message leads Pandan Sari to believe that he was killed. Now without I Jaya and the benefits of a higher caste, Pandan Sari decides to marry I Page, I Jaya's younger brother. I Jaya, when learning that Pandan Sari has married his brother, escapes from the island prison and makes his way to Kosame where he tries to convince Pandan Sari to run away with him. As a married woman, Pandan Sari refuses and, beneath a rain of bullets from soldiers who have been sent to capture him, I Jaya leaves his village with Daeng Azis.

husin penidaislands smallGaleb Husin

Born in 1937, Galeb Husin became active in theatre at an early age. As a student at the National Theatre Academy he participated in numerous theatrical productions. He first began to act in films in 1961, then later began to work as assistant director. Now the head of his own production company, PT Melur Film Productions his first film, Nusa Penida (Penida Islands), is on this years' selected film list.

Productions date: May 1988

Three dates are given in the film. At the start of the movie, the Departemen Penerangan R.I. Badan Sensor Film (Information Department of the Republic of Indonesia, Cinematographic Censorship Body) has rated 'Noesa Penida" 101/35/90 Cp13 - 13-2-90; R - s/d 21-8-94 'minimum 17 years of age', apparently either in August 1994, with a possible production date of February 1990. A few minutes later, 'Surat Izin Produksi No.23 8IP FG (...) 1988, Jakarta 4 May 1988 is shown. Therefore, presumably, the film was first released or produced in 1988.

Introductory notes taken from the film

Bali (awal abad XX) - Bali, beginning of the 20th century

'Film ini berdasarkan novel Noesa Penida yang ditulis oleh alm. Andjar Asmara 50 tahun yang lalu. Kejadiannya menumpang pada awal abad XX. Sebuah kerajaan kecil di Tabanan dan di Bali Selatan beserta nama para pelakunya lahir dari fantasi pengarang. Apabila terdapat kesamaan nama dengan tokoh yang pernah ada, itu hanya kebetulan saja.'

'This film is based on the novel Noesa Penida written by the late Andjar Asmara, 50 years ago. The events unfold at the beginning of the 20th century. A small kingdom in Tabanan and in South Bali and the names of the actors have sprung from the fantasy of the author. Any similarities to the people of that era are merely coincidental'.

'Kenangan pada kawan kawan Alm.: Lies Noor, Sukarno M.Noor, Ismet M.Noor, Mansyur Syah'

Dedicated to the late Lies Noor, Sukarno M.Noor, Ismet M.Noor, Mansyur Syah'

"Subuh yang hening, disentakkan oleh gederang dan sangkakala dilanjutkan dengan cerita tentang riuhnya perang. Tatkala singgasana Gusti Ketut Alit Rai yang bijaksana direbut oleh para pendurhaka. Raja yang bijaksana terbunuh... permaisuri, demikian juga putra mahkota. Rakyak banyak yang tewas. Kehendak yang Maha Kuasa, Pandansari putri raja terselamatkan dan dibawa lari mengembara oleh para sahaya". "

The still of early morning was shaken by drums and trumpets, the sounds of war as the throne of the wise king Gusti Ketut Alit Rai was stolen by traitors. The king, the queen, the crown prince too were felled, along with countless people. But Pandan Sari the king's daughter was saved by the king's retainers".


  • Ray Sahetapi: I Wayan Jaya; Ida Ayu Diastini: Gusti Ayu Pandansari; Pitrajaya Burnama: Daud Azis; Muni Gader: I Kompyang; Gusti Banda: I Pageh; Sutopo HS: I Murda; Sunjoto Adibroto: Cokorda Gde Oka; Rita Zaharah: Ni Padoh; Arif Riwan; Kadek Suardana: I Raditha
  • Supervisi Budaya: Drs. Gusti Ngurah Oka Kupartha; Drs. Oka PuniaThiada (?); Ida Bagus Putu Windya; Komang Astita MA; Putu Setia
  • Penata suara: Zakaria Rasyid; Rekaman langsung: Ida Baron; Penata artistik: Ghalid Arifin; Editor: S.K. Syamsuri; Penata musik: Idris Sardi; Fotografi: W.Adi Tjokorwardoyo
  • Skenario: Asrul Sani; Asosiasi Produser: -; Ariono Abdulkadir -; Aditiawarman; Iman Taufik; Ontosono; Produser: Budiati Abiyoga
  • Translated by: John H. McGlynn

Story line (preliminary rendering by G. Dijkman)

Pageh's fighting. Sari is sad, Jaya consoles her. I Murda arrives from fishing at sea. Jaya can carry fish, but not Sari for this is 'not done, says I Murda. Sari sits on stairs to cut vegetables and sits nest to Murda, then Murda moves one step lower. Sari wants to sit next to Jaya in a bale, but Murda forbids this since everybody has his/her place. Jaya is left wondering. Kompyang asks Murda if it's time to tell the children the true story, Murda tells him not yet, despite the fact that Sari is a girl and the others boys and anything could happen. Rudita arrives from Bali and tells he has been teaching the art of dance. He also tells Murda that it is time Sari gets her education being the daughter of Gusti Ketut Alit Rai. Sari and Pageh go look for Jaya, who is lonely on the beach. He playacts but is sad to see Sari and Pageh go. Murda and kompyang stand watching this. Jaya gives Sari a shell and Pageh a flute as a farewell gift. Sari and Pageh get education, dance, weaving etc. Scene shift: a few (10?) years later, Sari an adult woman, dancing gracefully, Pageh playing the drum. Rudite watching contently. They are apparently receiving education in the mountains of Kintamani, far away from the beach. They express their hope of someday returning to the beach, as does the river that flows down from Gunung Batur. They miss Jaya.

Scene shift: ship from Lombok, brewing resurgence and weapons against the Dutch, weapons smuggler's on a boat offload their load to Bali under the guidance of Daeng (Abdullah) Azis on the run from Sulawesi since their territory is being occupied by the Dutch. Kompyang spots Dutch soldiers from Karang Asem on patrol looking for arms smugglers. Jaya at the beach, apparently gone for a long time, probably involved in the resurgence against the Dutch. Uncle Kompyang brings him Pageh and the two long-lost brothers reunite. Daeng, Kompyang and Pageh are introduced on the beach. Pageh and Jaya play on the beach, in the waves and rejoice at having found each other again. Procession of women going to temple ceremony, Dutch soldiers walk towards the beach, Jaya flees to warn Azis and boatmen to get on board. Sari dances at ceremony in temple. Pageh plays drum in orchestra. Rudite, Murda and Kompyang watch while they spot Jaya enter. Jaya admires Sari. Jaya furtively steals out, leaving Sari backstage wondering who that was. Jaya goes back tot the beach where a number of vessels lies on the beach to smuggle arms. But they are discovered and hastily flee back into the darkness of the sea, Jaya makes it out in between shooting Dutch (KNIL?) soldiers, but Ismail dies (a martyr, according to Daeng Aziz).

Some time later, Sari goes out to the beach. There, she sits down on the wheel of a broken cartwright sticking half way out of the sand, and behind a rock she find a bundle made of braided palm-leaves. She then sees Jaya appearing from a bush, and the couple celebrate their reunion, embracing, strolling and running along he beach. But they are being watched by their father Murda. When the couple arrive at home, the rest of the family watches in dismay. Father Murda sits them all down, unfolds a keris from a cloth, and tells them he has a secret story to tell them. He recounts that on the night King Gusti Ketut Alit Rai was murdered, he came running to Murda and entrusted Gusti Ayu to him, giving him the keris. The King asked Murda to take good care of his daughter, and then died while Murda and the rest ran away to safety. Jaya in a roundabout shot is seen to realize what this means. Gusti Ayu (Princess) is crying telling Murda that there is really no difference between their cast and the Ksatria in which she was born. Murda tells her to accept her fate, which was ordained by the All Wise (God) Sang Hyang Widhi. The couple reunites again and imagine themselves dressed in white robes, wanting to jump the cliff and die together in desperation. But uncle Kompyang stops their fantasy and tells them that he thinks Jaya and Sari are egoists. He does not want to stop them, but only give his opinion. In Kompyang's view, the couple do not know how to 'membalas budi', i.e. respect their elders. He reminds Sari what sacrifices her adoptive father Murda has made for her, and most of all his faithfulness to the King, her father, by raising her. If Sari decides to jump, Murda would soon die too, he tells her. She runs away screaming. Kompyang tells Jaya that there are a thousand ways to live his life, and to share Gusti Ayu's love.

At the beach, the couple hear uncle Kompyang sing in Balinese:

"Ingatlah hukum karma senantiasaBaik dan buruk selalu menyertainyaMujur tak dapat diraihBila malang kepadamu beralihKeingingan baik terus perjuangkanBerilah jalan akan terbentangDemikian hendaknya manusia". "Remember karma always. That good and bad go hand in handFortune is not always for the takingIf misfortune comes your way, turn asideFight for what is right alwaysFollow the path of truth".

Meanwhile, the couple announces to uncle that they want to run away. He pretends not to have heard this, says he is a friend of their father's, but wishes well to all those who really love each other. On board of Daeng Aziz's penisi, Jaya asks Aziz for advice. Aziz tells them that wherever he has gone, he encounters the same thing, at home, Java and Malaysia. But he tells Jaya that only God can determine the difference between people on the basis of their behaviour, and not on the lineage of birth. Jaya feels he has Aziz's support, and they agree to flee the following night. After having taken a bath, Sari falls down on a road where the Royal Highness Cokorda is passing. She feels dizzy and can't get out of the way fast enough. The Cokorda is infuriated, and wants to punish her. Then both uncle Kompyang and the punggawa (High Priest?) tell the Cokorda not to be too rash in taking the decision to have her beaten. Uncle then tells the Cokorda what her real name is and a daughter of the late King Gusti Ketut Alit Rai. The Cokorda is surprised, since he was his uncle. I Murda is summoned to the palace and shows the keris given to him by the King. The Cokorda confirms that the keris belonged to the late King, his uncle. I Murda tells his sons he feels relieved now that Sari is back where she belongs, at the Puri and has therefore fulfilled the late King's wishes. Jaya tells his father he wants to see her, bu I Murda says that if he cannot enter the puri, and if he insists, he has to kill his father first. Father and son stand against each other with swords in their hands. Pageh comes in between them, until Jaya falls down at his father's feet to ask forgiveness. Murda tells his son that he has to accept that each man has his own place. Jaya cries desperately, and is helped to stand up by Pageh.

At the puri, Gusti Ayu is surrounded by servants. She wonders at the amount of women in there. It is explained that they are part of the King (Cokorda)'s harem (permaisyuri). When eating, Ayu is served by four female girls, to which she objects. Her companion explains that this is according to the King's wishes who wants to make sure Ayu is short of nothing. At the village, father Murda is telling the local priest (?) that he feels his sons are blaming him, and he feels sorry since he misses his daughter and his sons who are often away. The priest consoles him telling him that what he did was a good thing. Gusti Ayu is very sad and tells her companion that she wants to leave the puri back to the simple life she was leading and to the ones she loves. The companion asks her about a boyfriend, and offers to deliver a message to I Wayan Jaya. She tells Gusti Ayu cannot leave the puri. The message is that she will always be faithful to him.

The two brothers Pageh and Jaya and uncle Kompyang are at the cockfighting ring. Pageh, who doe sot have any money, is offered a loan. He has to give his cock to a friend while the 'generous' lender takes him aside. The friend, meanwhile, loosens the spur of Pageh's cock in order for Pageh's cock to loose the next duel. Having lost the fight, a small boy tell Kompyang that Pageh's been tricked, and tells them who is was to loosen the spur. Pageh then accuses the man, and a fight breaks out. Jaya interferes and insists he wants to fight the man who has unsheathed his keris. Jaya is able to take him with bare fists and special technique. But as Jaya & Pageh force the man to tell who has set them up, from behind someone approaches with great speed. Jaya sees him coming, tells Pageh to get out of the way, and then pushes not against Pageh but Jaya causing him to stab the man with the keris. It is Jaya then who holds the keris and is accused of killing him. Gusti Ayu runs to the part of the puri where the Cokorda is sitting with his uncle, the priest, discussing when Gusti Ayu will be installed (pemobatan). She is granted a wish by the Cokorda, and she says she has heard that I Wayan Jaya from Kosambe, her brother, son of Murda, will be tried at the Kertagosa Court the following day for murder. He is grieved by the fact that she calls him brother.

Scene at the Kertagosa Court (centre of Klungkung), where the Cokorda presides. Jaya is sentenced to ten years of exile in Nusa Penda. The Cokorda at the puri tells Gusti Ayu it was the decision of the court, not his. She cries and gives back her jewels, and says she wants to return to the 'alam sudra' (words of the pedanda, the uncle-priest). She leaves the palace while handcuffed Jaya is being taken to the beach for transport to Nusa Penida. He is granted his last wish by saying good-bye to his father and Pageh. Pageh falls to his brother's feet crying that Jaya was sentenced in his place. Jaya replies by saying that all is already planned 'ditakdirkan' as it should. Jaya asks his brother to safeguard the honour of their sister. When he is pushed inside the proa, Sari comes running to him, but too late. While watching him leave, she cries she is free and will be forever waiting for him.

Scene at Murda's house. Sari is together with Pageh, she's not feeling well. Looks like she could be pregnant. Murda tells her that I Wario invites Pageh and Sari into his group. She says she's tired and goes to rest. On Nusa Penida, Jaya wants to give a present to a convict who returns to Bali. A nautilus shell. The guard interferes and refuses because Jaya does not have permission. Jaya gives a blow to the guard, and a fight ensues. The guard smashes the shell into pieces on a rock. Guns are used, and Jaya is hit. The returning convict in Bali gives the broken shell to Sari who cries and is watched by Pageh. Sari dressed in black on the beach, torn with grief over Jaya. She isolates herself and is mourning. At seeing this, I Wario again invites Pageh as the best drummer and Sari as an outstanding dancer to join their group and perform, in order to cure her from her loneliness. Scene continues with other dances of Topeng Tua and other dances, and procession though rice fields, Sari still dances. Murda dies, but before he does Pageh tells him that he will take care of Sari when bapak is gone. Thus, a moment before dying, Murda reunites the hands of Sari and Pageh on his belly and dies. Kompyang watches in despair. While the preparations for the cremation are going on, a scene of Jaya apparently already expelled to NP carrying a heavy stone, Murda is being cremated. 'And that's how its all happened in Kosambe', says Jaya from his prison cell. Jaya escapes in a small proa, prison guards set off to chase him. He nearly dies because of the heat at sea. He flees to Kosambe, enters the house and finds the shell, once his gift to her, broken. (NB - this shell is the nautilus, whereas the one he gave to her on the beach was a cone-shaped one...)

Scene from 'Kecak dance' in which Sari dances the role of Sita being abducted by Rawana in the disguise of a priest. At the back row in the temple, Jaya watches the show where Sari is taken away amidst the male dancers. Jaya steals away and goes to Sari's house to find Pageh's and Sari's baby. Sari comes in the house to find Jaya very disappointed at finding out the couple has married and therefore betrayed the loyalty she once promised to Jaya. She explains that Wayan (= Murdi?) told her that Jaya had died on NP. She declares that her love for him is undying. He accepts and wants to take her since he considerers her lawfully to be his wife. They embrace.

Enters Pageh, who says Pandan Sari is not going anywhere and draws his weapon to fight his own brother. The two unsheathe their krisses, but Jaya is overwhelmed with emotion and sits down when he hears the words of his brother Pageh: I need to defend the rights of my Sari as a married woman. Azis enters and warns Jaya about approaching soldiers. Jaya stands up, knows he needs to run lest he be caught and tortured, but returns to Sari holding the baby. When she tells him the boy is called Jaya, he tells his brother Pageh to take good care of him and runs with Azis to the beach. Uncle Kompyang accompanies him but is wounded and later is shot and dies. This scene is intermixed with final scenes and cries from the Kecak dance. Azis and Jaya make it to the ship and escape, leaving dead uncle Kompyang behind. 'So, where to now?', asks Azis. And while sailing away Jaya answers: 'To my new home, laut bebas.' Azis and Jaya embrace while the sun is rising on the horizon in front of them.

Production notes

  • Original title: Nusa Penida
  • Director: Galeb Husin
  • Screenplay: Asrul Sani
  • Editor: S.K. Syamsuri
  • Cinematography: W.Adi Tjokrowardoyo
  • Leading actor: Ray Sahetapy
  • Leading actress: Ida AyuMade
  • Running time: 141 minutes
  • Producer/production Co: Budiati Abiyoga, PT Prasidi Teta Film, Jl.Buncit Raya no.61, Jakarta

Notes by the author

  • 1) Kosame, or Kosambe, must be a name 'in disguise' for the village of Kusamba, on the southern coast of Bali, directly facing Nusa Penida. Today, motorised proas ferry across many local people to the island group of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
  • the tile 'The story of Love in Times of Exile" is chosen by the author.



  • photocopy of unknown origin, Jakarta 2007
  • observations and notes by the author
  • Bapak Adi Pranajaya, Gedung Pusat Perfilman H. Usmar Ismail, Sinematik, Lantai 5. Jl. HR. Rasuna Said Kav. C22, Kuningan, Jakarta 12940; atas nasehat Budi Ismanto; Jakarta, 26 November 2007
  • Melanja Palitta,

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