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9 Naga (9 Dragons)

9-naga 2

Celebrating 11 Years of Screening Southeast Asian Cinema 2004-2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 6:30 pm
St. John Plant Science Lab Rm 11 (basement)

Indonesia (2006, 104 min)
Indonesian w/English subtitles

Director: Rudy Soedjarwo
Screenplay: Monty Tiwa
Cast: Donny Alamsyah (as Doni Alamsyah), Fauzi Baadila (as Lenny), Dorman Borisman (as Lamhot)
Ajeng Sardi (as Ajeng), Lukman Sardi (as Marwan), Marcel Anthony (as Adi)

Subtitled by The Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

9 Naga, is a film that breaks away from the usual tale of young love we’ve been seeing in the past. Quite a change but more emotionally charged than usual. In fact, it’s heart-wrenching to the very end.

Director Rudi Soedjarwo, better known for his previous box office works Ada Apa Dengan Cinta and Tentang Dia, takes a turn into the slums of Indonesia and paints a bleak life on the harsh reality of its characters in 9 Naga. No teeny-bopper soundtrack to go with this film for sure.

The film tells a story of three friends, though a large chunk of it centers on Marwan (Lukman Sardi). Marwan is feared by those living in the ghettos of Jakarta. He is a hired gun, executing the dirty job for a gangster.

Marwan’s posse is Lenny (Fauzi Baadila) and Donny (Donny Alamsyah). The three began the life of hired assassins at a young age when Marwan and Lenny accidentally killed a man who attacked Donny. Instead of jail time for their crime, the boys were rewarded with cash. To the boys, the idea of blood for money is a calling and a way to earn big bucks to survive their poverty-stricken life.

Now that they are older, they began to question their life in the “extermination business”. Marwan, with a wheelchair-bound wife and a young son, struggles to see a better prospect beyond this bleak reality. Lenny, on the other hand, is smitten with a girl and tries to find confidence and some dignity to talk to her. Donny has a promising plan compared to the two. He wants to quit for good and start a T-shirt business with his brother Adi (Marcel Anthony). Despite Donny and Lenny’s insistence to leave that life, Marwan goes on to make it difficult for them. In their last job, something goes awry….

Director Soedjarwo reveals raw and painful insight into the life of a criminal. He doesn’t romanticize it, but brings a gritty reality to what really happens on the streets. So don’t expect a happy ending for this one. The sadness it brings stays on with you even after you had long left the cinema.

[button url=”” size=”small” style=”blue”] Source: Andrea Tan, [/button]

The CSEAS Film Series is hosted by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai’i, in support of the course ASAN 491G Cinema of Southeast Asia. Partial funding to purchase the films comes from the U.S. Dept. of Education and generous contributions from our loyal film fans.
CSEAS is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. For disability access, contact us at

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