Canada/Bali / 1997 / 28 minutes

Balifilm was originally commissioned as a stage performance, created from diary images and sounds collected in 1990 and 1992 by Peter Mettler on the island of Bali. The soundtrack is a live recording of eight Gamelan musicians playing the bronze and wooden instruments of Indonesia during the projection of the film. Balifilm is a personal, lyrical observation and expression of the creative pulse of an extraordinary culture.

“Not unlike his intuitive experimental travel diary, Eastern Avenue (1985), Balifilm is an evocative observational journey into another culture and into the filmmaking process itself. Filming landscapes, traditional Balinese dancers and musicians, and an astonishing shadow puppet performance, Mettler stitches fast and slow-motion, optically printed, black & white and colour sequences into an extraordinary tapestry of perception… Authoritative and inquisitive, Balifilm is a rewarding exploration of cinema’s unique fusion of sound, silence, and vision.” – Take One

“A hypnotic work bordering on, but never accommodating, the conventions of travelogue, documentary and experimental film.” – The Sound of Eye

Watch Balifilm for free via Vimeo


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Produced by Grimthorpe Film Inc. 
Camera and Editing: Peter Mettler
Music: Performed by the Evergreen Club Gamelan Ensemble: Bill Parsons, Bill Brennan, Mark Duggan, Paul Ormandy, Paul Houle, Blaire Mackay, Andy Morris and Andrew Timar. Created by the development of fragments of compositions by Trevor Tereski, Larry Lake, Andrew Timar, John Wyre and the Evergreen Club Gamelan. Also by traditional taiko, Leonard Eto and the work of Kodo. Arrangements by Bill Parsons, Mark Duggan, Blair Mackay and Peter Mettler.

Special thanks: Sonic Boom and Thom Sokolowski, the National Film Board of Canada, Daniel Tremblay, Caitlan Maggs, Samir and Pippilotti and DIGIT AG, Tim Griffin and Ted Bridgewater at Foresight Communications, Salome Pitschen, Chris Hinton, Tjokorda Gede Dangin, Greg Miller at Exclusive Labs, Ingrid Veninger, Mike Munn and Alexandra Gill.

Extra special thanks to the communities of Bona and Sidemen. Bali, Indonesia.

For Verena Merz



Performed live at Sonic Boom Festival, 1996
Opening Night Film, Visions du Réel
Best Short Film, Duisburger Filmwoche
Performed live at Toronto International Film Festival, 2006

Purchase on Preludes DVD

Stream on Vimeo

Stream on Doc Alliance Films