Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

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Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts.jpg
Teaser poster
Directed byMouly Surya
Produced by
  • Willawati
  • Najwa Abu Bakar
  • Peter Bithos
  • Rama Adi
Screenplay by
Story byGarin Nugroho
  • Marsha Timothy
  • Yoga Pratama
  • Egy Fedly
  • Dea Panendra
Music by
  • Zeke Khaseli
  • Yudhi Arfani
CinematographyYunus Pasolang
Edited byKelvin Nugroho
Cine Surya
Distributed byIcarus Films
KimStim Films
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • 24 May 2017 (2017-05-24) (Cannes)
  • 16 November 2017 (2017-11-16) (Indonesia)
Running time
93 minutes
Box office$23,564[1]

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Indonesian: Marlina Si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak) is a 2017 Indonesian drama film directed by Mouly Surya and written by Surya and Rama Adi, based on a story conceived by Garin Nugroho. The film has been described as a "Satay Western", combining aspects of the feminist Western genre with an Indonesian setting.[2] It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.[3][4] The song "Lazuardi" from the soundtrack is composed and performed by Jakarta indie rock band Efek Rumah Kaca.[5] It was selected as the Indonesian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.[6][7]


In the first act, The Robbery, the film opens on the island of Sumba with Marlina grieving her late husband. A group of seven men, led by the aged Markus, arrive at her house intent on robbing Marlina of her livestock and raping her. They demand to be fed dinner, and she takes the opportunity to poison most of the robbers with chicken soup and decapitate Markus. She burns Markus' musical instrument, a jungga.

In the second act, The Journey, she hitches a ride on the local bus where she encounters the pregnant Novi, on the way to find her jealous husband Umbu before she delivers. They are joined by an old woman with a dowry payment of two horses on the way to her nephew's wedding. Along the way, two of the other robbers (including Franz) discover the deaths and chase after Marlina. They hijack the bus, but Marlina escapes with one of the horses. Along the way, Marlina is haunted by a headless apparition playing the jungga.

In the third act, The Confession, she arrives at the local police station and delivers a report of the robbery, rape, and her self-defense. The police accept the report but insist that they can't proceed for at least a month while they wait for funds to purchase rape test equipment. Marlina bonds with a young girl in a local warung.

In the fourth act, The Birth, Novi finally finds Umbu. He, believing that a breech baby is a sign of infidelity, hits her and leaves her to be found by Franz, who threatens her into luring Marlina back to the house. The three meet at the house, and Novi's water breaks. She considers killing Franz, but takes pity on him. Franz reunites the head of Markus with his corpse and places him beside Marlina's mummified husband. While Novi cooks chicken soup for him under duress, he rapes Marlina and Novi decapitates him. She then gives birth. Marlina and Novi leave the house in the morning together with the child.


  • Marsha Timothy as Marlina
  • Yoga Pratama as Franz
  • Egy Fedly as Markus
  • Dea Panendra as Novi


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 98% based on 42 reviews, and an average rating of 7.81/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Subversive, gorgeously shot, and suitably visceral, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts injects timely feminist themes into a neo-western grindhouse framework."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]

The Jakarta Post's reviewer Stanley Widianto called the film "one hell of a ride" arguing that its similarities to the "spaghetti western trope" film making style rightfully earns Surya's third feature film the distinction of being Indonesia's "first satay Western film".[10]


Award Date of Ceremony Category Recipient(s)/Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Sitges Film Festival 14 October 2017 Best Actress Marsha Timothy Won [11]
AFI Fest 17 November 2017 World Cinema Marlina the Murder in Four Acts Nominated [12]
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 23 November 2017 Achievement in Directing Mouly Surya Nominated [13]
Tokyo FILMeX 25 November 2017 Grand Prize Marlina the Murder in Four Acts Won [14]
Maya Awards 16 December 2017 Best Cinema Film Marlina Si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak Won [15]
Best Cinematography Yunus Pasolang Won
Best Art Direction Frans Paat Won
Best Film Score Zeke Khaseli, Yudhi Arfani Won
Best Actress Marsha Timothy Won
Göteborg Film Festival 4 February 2018 Dragon Award Best International Film Marlina the Murder in Four Acts Nominated [16]
Asian Film Awards 17 March 2018 Best Actress Marsha Timothy Nominated [17]
Best Cinematography Yunus Pasolang Won
Best Production Design Frans Paat Nominated
Best Sound Khikmawan Santosa Won
Indonesian Film Festival 9 December 2018 Best Film Rama Adi and Fauzan Zidni Won [18]
Best Director Mouly Surya Won
Best Leading Actress Marsha Timothy Won
Best Supporting Actor Egi Fedly Nominated
Yoga Pratama Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Dea Panendra Won
Best Original Screenplay Mouly Surya and Rama Adi Won
Best Original Score Zeke Khaseli and Yudhi Arfani Won
Best Sound Editing & Mixing Khikmawan Santosa and Yusuf A. Patawari Won
Best Art Direction Frans XR Paat Won
Best Cinematography Yunus Pasolang Won
Best Makeup & Hairstyling Didin Syamsudin Nominated
Best Costume Design Meutia Pudjowarsito Nominated
Best Film Editing Kelvin Nugroho Won
Best Visual Effects Danny S. Kim and Teguh Raharjo Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  2. ^ Lee, Maggie (26 May 2017). "Film Review: 'Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Fortnight 2017: The 49th Directors' Fortnight Selection". Directors' Fortnight. Archived from the original on 20 December 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  4. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (19 April 2016). "Cannes: Juliette Binoche-Gerard Depardieu Drama to Kick Off Directors Fortnight". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  5. ^ Wirastama, Purba (24 October 2017). "Vokalis Efek Rumah Kaca Ikut Garap Lagu Soundtrack Film Marlina". MetroTV News (in Indonesian). MetroTV. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Film 'Marlina' Wakili Indonesia di Oscar 2019". CNN Indonesia. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  7. ^ Frater, Patrick (18 September 2018). "Oscars: Indonesia Selects 'Marlina The Murderer' in Foreign-Language Category". Variety. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  10. ^ Widianto, Stanley (18 November 2017). "Marlina Unnerving, and all around glorious". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  11. ^ "The Fantastic Fable Jupiter's Moon Wins Sitges 2017". Sitges Film Festival. 14 October 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  12. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (25 October 2017). "AFI Fest Announces Films In World Cinema, Midnight, Youth and Family Sections". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Nominations Announced for 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards". Asia Pacific Screen Awards. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  14. ^ Schilling, Mark (25 November 2017). "Indonesia's 'The Seen and Unseen,' 'Marlina' Share Tokyo FILMeX Grand Prize". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  15. ^ News Desk (19 December 2017). "'Marlina,' 'Pengabdi Setan' dominate Piala Maya 2017". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Dragon Award Best International Film". Göteborg Film Festival. 4 February 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  17. ^ "12th Asian Film Awards – Nominees 2018". Asian Film Awards. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  18. ^ "'Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts' wins big at 2018 FFI Awards". The Jakarta Post. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2019.

External links[edit]