09 February 2019

Dangdut has indeed become an inseparable part in the lives of Indonesian people and it is only fitting for local filmmakers to be more adventurous and dare to explore in making documentary films about dangdut. Such film that has been released is Tarling Darling by Ismail Fahmi Lubis. 

The film tells the true story of human life on a stage of traditional music from Indramayu, a fishing town in the North of Java, known as tarling dangdut, which is famous for its erotic dance moves. The film also explored the trials and tribulation of the music, where it clashes with local clerics who consider it damaging to the morale. 

The film focuses on Jaham, a tarling dangdut songwriter, and Ipung, a music producer in charge in scouting new talents who dream of becoming new talents. Jaham is always surrounded by young women because of his work’s demands, making his wife jealous and the fell ill. But the biggest challenge for Jaham came from local clerics in his area who wanted Jaham to write Islamic songs. With the help of an erotic singer, Jaham went on to concoct his religious dangdut work. 

This documentary took three years to make. But the long production process proved to be advantageous as the crew managed to gain full trust from the characters involved in the film and were able to record the most intimate moments. 

“Tarling Dangdut, a sexy and seductive music. Indonesia should be proud of its traditional music, Sundanese flute, jaipongan sling, a constant intonation typical of gamelan, a high-pitched guitar that is a blend of contemporary music that has developed according to the era. This is not a film about Tarling dangdut, it’s about Tarling dangdut-nuanced life,” explained Ismail in one of his social media posts.