Humboldt Forum
© Erik Wirasakti
Setan Jawa. © Erik Wirasakti

September 22, 2018, 8:00 PM

Silent film with live orchestral music

Setan Jawa – The Javanese devil

@ Haus des Rundfunks

Admission: 20€, reduced: 10 €, doors open 6:30pm

in German

The concept behind "Setan Jawa" is utterly unique: a silent black-and-white film with Indonesian shadow puppetry, modern dance and a traditional gamelan orchestra with five singers, supplemented by a European orchestra – all coming together to create a fascinating Gesamtkunstwerk.

In this love story, a poor villager called Setio tragically falls in love with the beautiful Javanese princess Asih. In order to win her love he makes a pact with the Devil. Set in colonial-era Indonesia, the tale is inspired as much by the island kingdom’s vibrant mysticism as it is by 1920s silent German film.

Silent film and concert

The classic film Nosferatu, directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, provided the springboard for well-known Indonesian avant-garde director Garin Nugroho to reinvent the world of shadows. This encounter between tradition and modernity culminates in the contemporary composition by the influential Indonesian composer Rahayu Supanggah – who is regarded as having breathed new life into gamelan music and has worked with Robert Wilson, among others – and the prize-winning Australian composer Iain Grandage. The music, which has been written specially for this film, is to be performed by the Javanese gamelan ensemble Garasi Seni Benawa and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and conducted by Iain Grandage.

Sounds in the Humboldt Forum

The film concert, which premiered at the Arts Center Melbourne in 2017, will be performed for the first time in Germany and in this particular constellation. The joint project between the nineteen-strong Javanese gamelan ensemble and the twenty Berlin musicians is entirely representative of the kind of programming the Humboldt Forum will be undertaking from the end of 2019 onwards. Since March 2018, the exhibition [sound] Listening to the World along with its accompanying programme have impressively demonstrated that the Humboldt Forum will be a venue for sounds, too. On 22 September 2018, [sound] Listening to the World will be concluding with a tremendous crescendo, thanks to the fascinating festival production of Setan Jawa.


Time 8 pm, doors open 6:30 pm
Talk 7 pm Iain Grandage (conductor and composer) with Garin Nugroho (director), moderated by Stefan Schmidtke (Humboldt Forum), in English
Duration 70 minutes, without break

Words of welcome Prof. Dr. Hartmut Dorgerloh, general director of the Humboldt Forum
Introduction Stefan Schmidtke, Humboldt Forum
Concert Gamelan ensemble Garasi Seni Benawa / Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Film music by Iain Grandage and Rahayu Supanggah
Silent film by Garin Nugroho


Haus des Rundfunks Berlin
Großer Sendesaal
Masurenallee 10, 14057 Berlin


20€ advance sale / box office
10€ reduced (only at the box office: students, trainees, unemployed)
8€ ClassicCard (only at the box office: all ClassicCard holders)

Tickets are now available online.


An event organized by the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss together with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. This Event has been made possible thanks to the representative of the Federal Ministry for Culture and Media following a resolution passed by the German Federal Government. Setan Jawa is a co-production between Garin Nugroho Workshop and Turning World, Asia TOPA – Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Esplanade – Theatres on The Bay, Singapore.
  • Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media
  • Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin

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