An oft-filmed island
Bali is arguably the most filmed island in the archipelago.Since 1926, hundreds of documentary films about the island have been produced by filmmakers from various corners of the world.
W. Mullens’ Bali-Leichenverbrennung and Einascherung einr Furstenwitwe, a 16 and a half minute piece on cremation, and Bali-Sanghijang und Ketjaqtanz, a five minute work on sacred dances, are two of the earliest documentary films from Bali.
During the pre-independence period alone, at least 14 documentary films on Bali were produced, including The Island of Demons (1931), Goona Goona, An Authentic Melodrama (1932), Tropical Nederlands (1935), Legong (1936), Tenze auf Bali (1937), An East Indian Island (1938), Bali, The Lost Paradise (1939) and Dance of the Eyes (1940).
“The uncertainty and unstable security situation during and in the years following World War II badly affected film production, including the documentary production on Bali,” Agung Bawantara said, adding that once the situation returned to normalcy, filmmakers began flocking there.
“The first post-war production was carried out by N. Multifilm from Holland titled In the Shadow of the Waringen-Bali (1947). It was a propaganda piece serving the interests of the Dutch government that wanted to reclaim the archipelago as its vassal,” he said.