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Legong (Dance of the Virgins)

Legong (Dance of the Virgins)(1935)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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On the day of the temple feast of Tampaksiring, Poutou, a chaste maiden who dances the "legong" dance of the virgins at the sacred temple, meets Njong, a carefree youth from Northern Bali. As Poutou and Njong's eyes meet, love enters her eyes, echoing a prophecy that warned her, "Should love enter thine eyes and go to thy heart, beware, for should he whom thou choosest not return thy love, thy gods will frown and disgrace will befall thee." Immediately, Poutou's father, Bagus, knows she has met "the one of her heart," and tells her that it is time to select a husband and have her last dance at the temple. Bagus invites Njong to come to dinner, and he accepts. The next morning, when Njong goes to the spring, he sees Poutou's younger sister Saplak removing her wrap and stepping into the spring to bathe. While Poutou lovingly prepares rice cakes for Njong, Njong tells Saplak that she is the most beautiful maid in all of Bali. The days pass, and Njong falls in love with Saplak. The women at the marketplace, aware of Njong's betrayal of Poutou, whisper that she will be the laughing stock of the whole village. Poutou, meanwhile, prepares for her last temple dance, after which she will wear the bridal sarong. When Njong visits Bagus and asks for the hand of Saplak, Bagus is outraged. Njong then writes Saplak a note on a leaf asking her to meet him at a bamboo bridge after the temple dance and go away with him forever. Poutou joyously sets off to dance her last legong, but finds Njong's note to Saplak. The legong, which she has awaited with happiness, must now be danced with shattered hopes. As is customary, Saplak and Poutou dance together, and Njong watches them, eying Saplak. Poutou collapses and hears the echo of the prophecy, "disgrace will befall thee." Njong, oblivious to Poutou's sorrow, hurries to meet Saplak at the bridge, where Poutou waits. After the lovers meet, Poutou folds her hands and jumps off the bridge to her death. During the village cremation ceremonies, Bagus lights her funeral pyre. Later, as Bagus watches, Poutou's ashes are scattered at sea so that she can return to the village reincarnated.