Tiger from Tjampa

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Tiger from Tjampa

Harimau Tjampa Dunia Film 15 Jan 1954 pp16-17.jpg

Still picture of Harimau Tjampa.
Directed by D. Djajakusuma
Produced by D. Djajakusuma
Written by Alwi Dahlan
Screenplay by Alwi Dahlan
  • Bambang Hermanto
  • Nurnaningsih
  • Titi Savitri
  • Wahid Chan
  • Raden Ismail
  • Malin Maradjo
Music by E. Sambas
Cinematography Max Tera
Edited by Sumardjono
Distributed by PERFINI
Release date
  • 1953 (1953)
Running time
97 minutes
Country Indonesia
Language Indonesian

Tiger from Tjampa (Indonesian : Harimau Tjampa) is an Indonesian black and white drama film released in 1953, produced by Perfini, written and directed by D. Djajakusuma. It is still highly regarded today in Indonesia as an early portrayal in a fiction film of aspects of a traditional regional culture. Despite the numerous combat scenes as well as scenes of students practicing pencak silat, Indonesia's traditional form of self-defence, based on the movements of animals and although in the film, the lessons are conducted by a famous master, Tiger from Tjampa was never presented as a martial arts film.

Indonesian language language spoken in Indonesia

Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. It is a standardized register of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population, the majority speak Indonesian, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Black and white monochrome form in visual arts

Black-and-white images combine black and white in a continuous spectrum, producing a range of shades of gray.

Culture societys way of life within anthropology

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization, mythology, philosophy, literature, and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.


D. Djajakusuma won Best Scenario for this film at the first Indonesian Film Festival held in 1955.


Set in the 1930s, and narrated like an old ballad, The Tiger from Tjampa tells the story of a young man, Lukman (Bambang Hermanto) who seeks to avenge his father's murder by learning pencak silat, Indonesia's traditional form of self-defence, based on the movements of animals. The pencak silat shown in the film is regionally specific to West Sumatra.

West Sumatra Province in Padang, Indonesia

West Sumatra is a province of Indonesia. It lies on the west coast of the island of Sumatra. The latest official estimate for January 2014 shows a population of 5,098,790. West Sumatra is sub-divided into 12 regencies and seven cities. It has relatively more cities than other provinces in Indonesia, except Java province. Its capital is Padang.

Lukman pleads Datuk Langit (Raden Ismail) to teach him, the man having asked him for three buffalos as payment which is beyond his means. Lukman then witnesses a man beat his opponent in a fight quite easily and begs him to teach him silat. The man agrees with the condition that his silat would not be used for oppressing the weak, but for self defense only. Lukman breaks his promise numerous times, but every time his teacher always manages to forgive him until his lessons are complete. Lukman then once defies his teacher by killing a gambler, and is imprisoned.

In jail, Lukman learns that Datuk Langit is responsible for his father's death. He manages to escape from prison and confront him, finally defeating him, after which he turns both him and himself to the authorities.


Filmed largely on location in 1953 in the villages in West Sumatra, the region of the matrilineal Minangkabau people, The Tiger from Tjampa is exceptional in its evocation of a unique region and milieu. Apart from some of the main actors, almost everything in the film is from West Sumatra. All the film's varied music is from there, as are its dances. In its dialogue the film also effectively uses peribahasa - maxims and proverbs handed down for generations within oral culture - with their characteristic lilting Minangkabau rhythms. The film also displays the intense spirit of community that underlies educational practises in an oral culture.

Minangkabau people ethnic group

Minangkabau people, also known as Minang, are an ethnic group indigenous to the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, Indonesia. The Minangkabau's West Sumatran homelands was the seat of the Pagaruyung Kingdom, believed by early orientalists to have been the cradle of the Malay race, and the location of the Padri War.

Djajakusuma, who took this project over from Usmar Ismail, is remembered in Indonesia as one of the first to make feature films in regional areas after independence. Both as a filmmaker, and as a teacher at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts, Djajakusuma's advocacy for a cinema engaging with the regions influenced younger generations of directors to follow his example, among those being Slamet Rahardjo and Garin Nugroho.

Usmar Ismail Indonesian film director

Usmar Ismail was a prominent Indonesian film director. He was of Minangkabau descent. He was widely regarded as the native Indonesian pioneer of the Cinema of Indonesia although films made by the Dutch date back to around 1926.

Slamet Rahardjo Indonesian actor, director and screenwriter

Slamet Rahardjo Djarot is an Indonesian actor, director, and screenwriter. The elder brother of director, sound producer, and politician Eros Djarot, Rahardjo has starred in dozens of films since his debut in 1971's Wadjah Seorang Laki-Laki. Since his directorial debut in 1979 with Rembulan dan Matahari, he has directed and/or written twelve films; one of which, Langitku, Rumahku, was Indonesia's submission to the 63rd Academy Awards in 1991.

Garin Nugroho Indonesian director

Garin Nugroho Riyanto, better known as Garin Nugroho, is an Indonesian film director.


D. Djajakusuma received the Best Scenario award at the Indonesian Film Festival in 1955.


Tiger from Tjampa raised controversy when the female lead, Nurnaningish appeared half naked on-screen. This was a first in Indonesian cinema.

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