Air Mata Iboe

Air Mata Iboe
A black-and-white advertisement
Newspaper advertisement, Surabaya
Directed byNjoo Cheong Seng
Produced byFred Young
Screenplay byNjoo Cheong Seng
Starring
Music byR. Koesbini
Production
company
Majestic Film Company
Release date
  • 24 December 1941 (1941-12-24) (Dutch East Indies)
CountryDutch East Indies
LanguageIndonesian

Air Mata Iboe (Perfected spelling: Air Mata Ibu; Malay for A Mother's Tears) is a 1941 film from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) directed and written by Njoo Cheong Seng. Starring Fifi Young, Rd Ismail, Ali Sarosa, and Ali Joego, it followed a mother who raises her children attentively but is ultimately betrayed by her eldest sons when she falls upon hard times, as well as her youngest son's actions to protect his family. The film, billed as a musical extravaganza, featured a soundtrack by R Koesbini, and an eponymous title song written by Njoo.

The last production completed by Fred Young's Majestic Film Company, Air Mata Iboe was released in December 1941, shortly before the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies. This possibly lost film was reviewed positively at the time, though later the director Tan Tjoei Hock claimed credit for finishing it. A remake was produced, with a mostly different cast, under the same title in 1957.

Plot

Soegiati (Fifi Young) is the loving mother of four children, three sons (Achmad [Rd Ismail], Idris [S Poniman], Soemadi [Ali Sarosa]) and a daughter named Soepinah (Soelami). She loves them all, but Soemadi receives the most of her attention because he receives little from his father, the merchant Soebagio (Ali Joego). As the children grow, they marry and move away. Eventually only Soemadi is left. Although he strikes up a relationship with a young woman named Noormala (Soerip), he does not marry her as his income is not enough to support them.

On the night of Eid al-Fitr, the family gathers for the holiday. Unknown to the family, Soebagio is leading a double life as a robber, and that evening the police come to arrest him. To protect his father, Soemadi declares himself the culprit, and he is exiled. Feeling guilty for his sins, Soebagio catches ill and dies soon afterwards. Because of their debts, their home and belongings are repossessed, leaving Soegiati to fend for herself.

Though wealthy, Achmad and Idris refuse to take Soegiati in, fearing their respective wives Moedjenah (Titing) and Mariam (Ning-Nong). Soepinah and her husband Bakar (Koesbini) are willing to take her in, but they live in poverty. Ultimately Soegiati decides to leave their home and find her own way, depending on the kindness of strangers. Years pass, and Soemadi returns from exile. Seeing his mother living in poverty, he decides to take revenge on his brothers.[a]

Production

The cast of Air Mata Iboe

The Malang-based Majestic Film Company announced Air Mata Iboe in June 1941 together with two other films, Boedi Terbenam (Hidden Character) and Bachtera Karam (Wrecked Ark).[b] Production began soon afterwards and, by early December 1941, over 55 reels had been shot, with another 60 sound reels.[1][2]

Air Mata Iboe was directed and written by Njoo Cheong Seng under his penname M. d'Amour; he had previously directed Djantoeng Hati (Heart and Soul; 1941), which also had a tragic ending, for the company. The film was produced by the company's owner, Fred Young.[3][4] It starred Njoo's wife Fifi Young (no relation to Fred), Rd Ismail, Ali Sarosa, and Ali Joego.[5] Further roles were held by established keroncong (traditional music with Portuguese influences) singers, including Soerip, Titing, Soelami, Ning Nong, and Poniman.[1] This film, which used make-up to make Fifi Young age into an old woman over the course of the film, was the actress' first for Majestic; she had been ill during the production of her husband's debut for the company.[6]

This black-and-white film featured eleven keroncong songs written by music director R. Koesbini,[5] who also had a role in the film.[1] Backing music was provided by Koesbini's troup, the Krontjong Syncopaters,[1] while songs were performed by the cast.[c][7] Notes and lyrics to the film's title song, "Air Mata Iboe", were published in the December 1941 edition of Pertjatoeran Doenia dan Film.[d][8]

Release and legacy

Fifi Young, made up as an old woman for the film; she retook the role of Soegiati in the 1957 remake.

Air Mata Iboe premiered at Sampoerna Theater in Surabaya on 24 December 1941 and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Also advertised under the Dutch title Tranen Eener Moeder (a literal translation from Malay), the film was promoted as a "musical extravaganza";[e][9] other advertisements emphasised the size of the cast.[10] An anonymous review in the Soerabaijasch Handelsblad noted the extensive use of keroncong and praised the acting and singing, suggesting that native audiences would flock to see the film.[11]

Air Mata Iboe was the last film produced by Majestic Film Company, which closed following the Japanese occupation.[f][6] During the occupation Njoo, Fifi Young, and Fred Young established their own travelling theatrical troupe, Pantjawarna, though all returned to cinema in the 1950s.[12] Joego, though he was in a different troupe, likewise returned to film soon after the occupation ended,[13] as did Poniman, Sarosa, and Ismail,[14] though Soerip did not make another film until 1973.[15] Soelami is not recorded as acting in any further productions.[16]

A remake of Air Mata Iboe was produced in 1957, after Indonesia had obtained its independence. Directed by Fred Young, the film had Fifi Young retake her role as Sugiati, while Rd Ismail took the role of Subagio. The remake's other cast members had not appeared in the original film. The sons Achmad, Idris, and Soemadi were portrayed by Sukarno M. Noor, Boes Boestami, and Kamsul, respectively. The couple's daughter, renamed Atikah, was played Farida Arriany.[17]

Air Mata Iboe is likely lost. Movies in the Indies were recorded on highly flammable nitrate film, and after a fire destroyed much of Produksi Film Negara's warehouse in 1952, old films shot on nitrate were deliberately destroyed.[18] Thus, the American visual anthropologist Karl G. Heider wrote that all Indonesian films from before 1950 are lost.[19] However, JB Kristanto's Katalog Film Indonesia (Indonesian Film Catalogue) records several as having survived at Sinematek Indonesia's archives, and Biran writes that several Japanese propaganda films have survived at the Netherlands Government Information Service.[20]

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Summary derived from Pertjatoeran Doenia 1941, Air Mata Iboe, p. 30.
  2. ^ Biran (2009, pp. 379–386) does not record the latter two titles in his list of films of the Dutch East Indies; they may never have been completed.
  3. ^ Soerip provided vocals for three songs: "Sepasang Merpati" ("A Pair of Doves"), "Doelit-Doedit", and "Gandengan Tangan" ("Holding Hands"). Soelami performed four songs: "Boelan Bersenjoem" ("The Moon Smiles"), "Melajang Semarang 1921" ("Sailing to Semarang, 1921"), "Stamboel II Oh Iboe" ("Stambul II: Oh, Mother"), and "Krontjong Speciaal" ("Special Kroncong"). Titing provided two songs: "Krontjong Boelan Tertawa" ("Kroncong of the Laughing Moon") and "Padi-Padi" ("Rice"). Ning Nong sang a single song, "Gandengan Tangan" ("Holding Hands"), as did Poniman ("Selamat Hari Raya"; "Happy Holiday"). (Pertjatoeran Doenia 1941, Air Mata Iboe, p. 29).
  4. ^ Covers of this song continued to be performed into the 2000s (see, for instance, Subardja HS's 2014 cover (Liner notes for Lagu Keroncong Tempo Doeloe Vol 4)).
  5. ^ Original: "muzikale extravaganza"
  6. ^ Though the director Tan Tjoei Hock later testified that Air Mata Iboe was incomplete when the Japanese occupation began, thus leading him to finish it on his own (Biran 2009, pp. 240–241), the existence of contemporary coverage belies that.

References

Works cited

  • "Air Mata Iboe". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  • "Air Mata Iboe". Pertjatoeran Doenia dan Film (in Indonesian). Batavia. 1 (7): 29–32. December 1941.
  • "Air Mata Ibu". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  • "Ali Sarosa". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  • Biran, Misbach Yusa, ed. (1979). Apa Siapa Orang Film Indonesia 1926–1978. Sinematek Indonesia. OCLC 6655859. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  • Biran, Misbach Yusa (2009). Sejarah Film 1900–1950: Bikin Film di Jawa (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Komunitas Bamboo working with the Jakarta Art Council. ISBN 978-979-3731-58-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  • Biran, Misbach Yusa (2012). "Film di Masa Kolonial". Indonesia dalam Arus Sejarah: Masa Pergerakan Kebangsaan (in Indonesian). V. Jakarta: Ministry of Education and Culture. pp. 268–93. ISBN 978-979-9226-97-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |trans_chapter= ignored (help)
  • "Fifi Young" (in Indonesian). Taman Ismail Marzuki. Archived from the original on 19 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  • "Fred Young". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  • Heider, Karl G (1991). Indonesian Cinema: National Culture on Screen. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-1367-3.
  • "Kredit Air Mata Iboe". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  • Lagu Keroncong Tempo Doeloe Vol 4 (Media notes). Various Artists. Cakrawala Music Nusantara. 2007.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • "Majestic Film Coy. Aanvang werkzaamheden". Soerabaijasch Handelsblad (in Dutch). Surabaya: Kolff & Co. 14 June 1941. p. 12. Retrieved 4 March 2013. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)
  • "Njoo Cheong Seng". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: National Library of Indonesia with Sinematek. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  • "Raden Ismail Djajadiningrat". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  • "S Poniman". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  • "Sampoerna theater "Air Mata Iboe"". Soerabaijasch Handelsblad (in Dutch). Surabaya: Kolff & Co. 27 December 1941. p. 7. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  • "Soelami". filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Konfiden Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  • "(untitled)". Soerabaijasch Handelsblad (in Dutch). Surabaya: Kolff & Co. 24 December 1941. p. 7. Retrieved 19 May 2013.