In this, the first in the Herb Feith Foundation series of seminars on
Indonesia for 2014, we will be screening John Darling’s film Lempad of Bali.
In April 1978, Bali’s greatest living artist died at the extraordinary age of 116.
Lempad left an equally remarkable body of art and architecture created during the
most traumatic century in the island’s history.
Lempad of Bali tells his story in the context of this turbulent century. We see
him just before his death and then the elaborate preparations for his cremation
and the consequent release by fire of his spirit into the next world. The film includes
a wide selection of his drawings, paintings, sculpture and architecture which have
enriched the cultural life of Bali. The historical context is given through the use
of archive film and photographs. John Darling co-directed the film (with Lorne
Blair) and produced it.
John Darling (1946-2011) lived, researched and made films in Bali for
17 years from the 1970s to the 1990s. Lempad of Bali was his first documentary
film. In 2012 and 2013 the Herb Feith Foundation screened two of his later films:
Below the Wind and The Healing of Bali. The film will be introduced by John’s
wife Sara Darling, who worked with him on several of his films. Since his death
she has become the custodian of his many works as well as a wide range of
The Herb Feith Foundation is sponsoring the publication of an eBook in English and
Indonesian (now in press with Equinox Publishing) which will contain unpublished
work by John and the DVD of Lempad of Bali. It also funded the inaugural
John Darling Fellowships for emerging Indonesian documentary filmmakers in
2013. It seeks to support the continuation of this project and a counterpart project
for emerging Australian filmmakers.
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