TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Crocodile Tears

Tumpal Tampubolon, Mandy Marahimin

Indonesia, France

TFL Awards




19-year-old Johan and his mother live in a crocodile farm. Johan’s father left them when he was still small, so Mama took an albino crocodile as Johan’s surrogate father. She talks to it daily, consulting him about Johan. Mama is very protective towards Johan. She says that human beings are more dangerous than crocodiles. As a result, the people in the town have started talking about them. They see them as a strange couple, and they do not want to have anything to do with them.

One day, Johan meets a young woman, 23-year-old Arumi. She is new in town, where she works as a hostess in a karaoke parlor. They instantly connect and become good friends, seeing each other often – although privately, as Johan does not want Mama to know. Soon their relationship turns into a love relationship and one day, Arumi finds out that she is pregnant.

Johan decides to invite Arumi to live with him in the crocodile farm. Arumi enters a new world. By doing so, she will shake the relationship between Johan and Mama.



A few years ago, I was watching a documentary about crocodiles on TV. There was a scene where a female crocodile was trying to save its hatchling from another crocodile by putting it inside its jaws. I was mesmerised by this scene: there was something primordial, terrifying, but also tender and caring in the action of the female crocodile.

That crocodile reminds me of my mother. We usually associate the expression Mother Nature as something gentle, benevolent, but living in Indonesia, a country that is prone to many natural disasters, I think Mother Nature is also one hell of a tough mother.

In "Crocodile Tears", I want to explore the dynamics between a mother and her son, as well as between nature and humans. We will see how two people who live under the same roof, look after the same crocodiles, eat the same food and sleep on the same bed, can come up with different perceptions about the world – and how their perceptions clash and try to consume each other, until finally one of them is swallowed by the other.


budget, distribution & sales

Crocodile Tears will be a co-production between Indonesia and France, with a total budget of € 532.563. The shooting will take place in Indonesia, in a real crocodile farm location that is home to an albino crocodile that we can use for the film. Our target audience are cinema-lovers between 18 and 60-yearsold, especially people who love psychological drama. Drama is a big genre in Indonesia, and a big selling point is that it will be a very different kind of drama film proposal: Crocodile Tears is also a universal story about family relationships between mother, son, and daughter-in-law. The setting is unique as well, as we do not see many films set in a crocodile farm. The crocodile itself is exotic, and they are seen as supernatural beings in Indonesia. The project has no sales agent attached yet. We aim to screen it at international film festivals for six months prior to its domestic release, in order to create word-of-mouth buzz that will later be an asset for our social media campaigns. We will make large use of social media, especially Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We will also create a Youtube channel that will be filled with content about the making of the film.


Johan and Mama live peacefully in a crocodile farm until he invites another woman into their lives.
Tumpal Tampubolon

Scriptwriter, Film Director

Mandy Marahimin


production notes

directed by
Tumpal Tampubolon

produced byTanakhir Films
Jl. Rawa Maja no: 41

in co-production with
Acrobates Films – France

total production budget
€ 361.715