Merantau (2009) Script

In Minangkabau culture... every child must some day leave his family behind, and face the many challenges in life.

Challenges that will guide him towards becoming a man.

This journey is known as merantau.

It is the ultimate test of the physical and the spiritual, requiring a deep understanding of the world.

Nature becomes the child's teacher, illuminating the paths between right and wrong.

This is the story of my son and his journey into adulthood.

This is his... merantau.

It's warmer than usual today.

The weather isn't going to go easy on you just because it's your last day.

And neither am I. Now set the table.


When your brother came back from his merantau your father and I said a lot of bad things, hurtful things to him.

We felt that we had to.

That it was our duty to the community.

But we were wrong to do so.

Yayan has proven himself every day since he returned.

He didn't need to punish himself away from home to make himself a better person.

And the truth is...

nor should you.

Ma... All I'm saying is...

...the community may say something but it doesn't mean it has the right to say it.

You must do yourself proud, by your own standards.

Come back, my son, when you are ready.

I'll do my best, I promise you.

God willing.

You always do.

Ready, Master?


I think you're going to be okay.

Thank you.

Let's go.

Take this with you.

It belonged to your father.

He'll watch over you always.

I'll cherish it.

I'll make you proud of me, Mom.

You've already done so much.

I'm so proud of you.

Just make sure you're okay.

Salaam aleikum. Aleikum salaam.

Do you mind if I sit here? Please, go ahead.

My name's Eric. Yuda.

What are you doing in Jakarta? Looking for work?

I'm on merantau.


That takes me back.

Oh yeah? Yeah, way back.

Where do you work in Jakarta?

Right now I work anywhere.

Wherever my feet take me.

What are your plans in Jakarta?

I hope to teach silat.


I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to be rude.

I just feel like I'm sitting next to a younger version of myself.

Do you practice silat also?

Yeah, I remember it when I need to.

What was your experience when you did merantau?

Listen... and learn from my mistakes.

Get rid of those dreams in your head.

Life doesn't offer much for silat.

Trust me.

I've tried in the past just like you.

My advice is to use what you have differently.

You have to earn your money in other ways.

For us...

...there's no money in teaching.

Nothing is easy in this world.

I guess this is where we part.

I guess so.

Good luck with everything.

Until we meet again.

Take care.

19 Orchard Street

The number you are calling is not recognized.

Please check and try again...

The number you are calling is not recognized.

Please check and try again.

Please take a seat.


What do you want?

Satay padang.

Sorry, we don't have it, just chicken or lamb.

No problem, I'll take chicken then.

Your drink.

Enjoy your meal.


Hey! You! Get out of here!

Kids here think they can just come in and take what they want.


I'm new here.

I'm looking for a place to teach silat.

Maybe you know a place where I could teach?

I'm afraid not. Most schools are in the teachers' private homes.

You could always do that. Teach from home.

It's sort of under renovation right now.

I don't know what else to suggest.

If you asked me about food, then I'd know.

Of course. Thanks for your help, sir. No problem.

How much do I owe you? 6000.

Hey! You again!

I'll be back, trust me!

My wallet! Please don't hurt me.

I'm not going to hurt you, just give me my wallet.

How about we split it 50/50?


That's my wallet, my money! Give it to me.

Okay, enough already.


Thank you.

Calm down, it's all there. I didn't take any.

I'll check anyway.

It's 40% of your salary and tips.

That's bullshit. Anything I earn on stage is mine and you know it.

You wanna find some other place to work, then fine! Go ahead!

Your skinny pale ass doesn't bring much in anyway.

Screw you!

You know what? If you did, maybe I'd drop it to 35%.

Johni, please, it was an accident.

I need this job. You know that.

No, you've really fucked up this time.

Please, Johni. I'm begging you.

Let go! That's my sister!


The money, now! Please I need this.

Leave her alone! Adit, don't!


What now? Are you gonna apologize?

Well, where is it? Say you're sorry!

The money!


Because of this "behavior" today, I'm going to take 100%.

See you at work tomorrow, don't be late.

Let her go.

You should think about walking, friend.

Do you know who you're fucking with?

No, I don't. Now give her the money.

It would be a good idea for you to go back inside and forget about all this.

What do you think?


Johni, this has nothing to do with me.

I gave you a job when no one else would.

And this is how you repay me?!

You'll never set foot in this place again.

Let's see how long you last with those precious fucking tips.

Johni, wait! I can give you 40%!


Great, just great. My fucking hero!

Tell me, do you always go around destroying people's lives?


He had his hand around your throat. He kicked your brother to the ground.

Yeah, and now because of you I've lost my job also.

I had enough shit to deal with before you came along.

All you've done is make things worse.

I didn't want to be here either.

Now that I have my wallet back...

I can leave. Good.

No sis, please, you saw him. He can protect us.

He's already done more than enough.


We have to find another girl.

Bring the car to the lobby.

We have to find that bitch, Astri.

I don't care how hard it is, we have to find her.




Ayi, it's Astri!

Ayi's not at home.

I heard her leaving earlier.

Did she say where she was going?

She said something about a meeting.

Some guy picked her up.

He was really rough with her, but she insisted she was okay.

What's going on?

Who took her? I did!

Get in.

Hello? Hello, Ma?

Yuda! Son!

Be quiet, it's Yuda on the phone.

Ma, ask Yuda how the girls are in Jakarta.

Just be quiet and play your game.

Who's that? Just your brother, teasing as usual.

How is everyone? Thankfully we're all good here, son.

But that's not important. How are you?

Have you settled in well?

Everything is fine.

I just started teaching some children here.

I'm so glad to hear that.

I always knew you'd make it, no matter what.

Fuck you, Johni, you asshole!

Let me go, you piece of shit!

Make another move and I'll smack you in the fucking mouth.

Good girl.

Hold her.

Someone grab this whore!

Let's just take her in.

Who are you now?

Are you the boss now?

Do you want me to press your suit?

Shine your shoes?

Fucking hold her!

Ma, I have to go, I'll call again later. Wait...

Well, well. If it isn't Mr. Superhero again...

I was hoping I'd get to see you again, but so soon?

So what's so special about her?

She's got a pretty face, sure.

But so do a lot of the whores in here.

Are you okay?

I'm fine.

I honestly thought you were going to make it.

But it looks like I brought just enough support.

One, two, three, four.

I'll remember that number for the next time.

Until we meet again...




What are we going to do?

It's okay. I know somewhere we can stay.

How long have you been... Taking care of him?


Three years.

What happened to your parents?

They left us.

Left you?

Mom and Dad thought if they had a lot of children

they'd have lots of children to take care of them when they got old.

But it seems they forgot before that they would have lots of mouths to feed.

As time went on, things got worse.

And not all of us were fed.

And then one day,

before I woke up...

they left, leaving just me and Adit behind.

They took two of our sisters and one brother.

Even now I don't know why or how they chose to leave us.

I honestly don't know how they could.

But I've worked hard and I've made sure that he never goes hungry.

Not one single day has he been without food or a roof over his head.

And he never will.

He's lucky to have a sister like you.

I'm the lucky one.

He gives me a reason to keep on fighting.

If not, maybe I'd still be in that club being sold like a piece of meat.

Me and Yayan... my older brother... ever since we were kids, we've always been competing against each other.

We would play fight.

Pretend we were wrestlers.

But me being the youngest meant I'd never get to win.

Yayan would always push the fight as far as he could.

He knew that I'd get frustrated and angry, ready to snap.

Yayan knew what he was doing.

He'd set me up so I'd explode once our father came home.

He got me into so much trouble.

I bet now he doesn't fight you as much.

As we grew up I became a stronger fighter, sure.

But he became smarter, and that's worth so much more.

I don't know if he knows it, but he's always been the person I've tried to follow,

who I've tried to be like.

Why don't you just go back?

It's complicated. What's complicated about it?

You can go back and no one would find you.

No one in this city knows your face yet. It's the same for you. It's a big city.

To Sumatra? To pick tomatoes?

Would you rather stay here and strip?

I'm a dancer, okay?

There's a difference.

If some guy likes to see me dance, then fine.

But that's all he'll ever see.

I've earned my money and I've never once embarrassed myself for it.

I'm sorry. I was wrong to presume.

I apologize.

I take it this means we're good.

It means I'm hungry.

I'll leave you to get some sleep.



Good night.



I'm gonna get cigarettes. Okay.

There's no way you'll get in there without being seen.

I worked hard for that money. There's no way I'm leaving it behind.

Besides, it's not like we have a choice.

We need the money.

Where's the money? I'll go in.

Trust me.

Okay, it's under the rug. You'll see it straightaway.

Stay here.

Don't go anywhere until I come back.

Good luck.

Hey! Hey! Over here!

There's two more over here! Hurry!

Get in there, hurry.

Wait, there's not enough room.

There's no way you'll fit.

Don't worry about me. I've got my own hiding place.

No no, don't go! Don't leave me here.

Adit, please, trust me. I'm not going to leave you.

I'll come back for you. I promise.

Now just stay still and be quiet.

Don't make a sound.

He's up here!






Adit, where's Astri? Where's your sister?

They took her.

She told me to stay quiet.

I did nothing to save her.

Adit, take this.

Please don't leave me again.

Adit, Adit, Adit.

Listen, I can't take you with me.

It's too dangerous.

Now wait here.

I'm going to bring Astri back. I promise you.

You have to be strong, one last time.


You know I can't tell you anything.

I'm not giving you the choice. Now tell me! Where's Astri?

He's staying in those apartments, room 1426.

He's here!


So it's you that everyone is looking for.

You don't have to do this.

You know I have to.

I'm sorry, Yuda.

Do it, Yuda, you have no choice.

Come on! Finish me.

I won't become what you have.

Astri. Astri.


You again.

Let's go home.


Yuda, hold on.


Just hold on, I'll get help.

Astri... there's no time.

No, don't say that.



Take this back home for me.

No. No.

We're going back together. You promised.

Please don't give up on me.

Astri... tell my family what happened.

Tell them that I did my best.

Tell them...

Yuda! Yuda!

Please tell my family...

I'm so sorry.

No, you'll tell them yourself.

Hold on, please just hold on.

Astri, it's okay.

There's good out there.

They'll take care of you.

My family will...

Yuda. Yuda.



Astri, go now.


Yuda. Yuda.

Yuda. Yuda. Yuda.

Yuda. Yuda.

Yuda. Yuda. Yuda!

Yuda! Yuda!