Indonesian director Kamila Andini returns to the Festival with a story of youth that builds on her previous Platform selection, The Seen and Unseen.
The first filmmaker to be presented twice in our Platform competition, Indonesian director Kamila Andini returns to the Festival with a story of youth that builds on her previous film, The Seen and Unseen. This time she takes an entirely new approach.
Where her 2017 Platform entry drew on Balinese mythology to explore how young children deal with the mysteries of life and death, Yuni turns a more real-world lens on the endless mystery of adolescence. The title character, played by Arawinda Kirana, is a high-school girl with a passion for the colour purple, a clutch of close friends, and characteristically teenage views. Her loving family is more bound to tradition than she is. Whatever. Her school announces they’ll begin mandatory virginity tests for girls. So lame.
But outside forces that once had little impact on Yuni begin exerting their influence. When her family receives first one, then a second proposal of arranged marriage for her, Yuni’s grandmother urges her not to refuse this “blessing.” With each passing day, at home and at school, Yuni sees her horizons closing in.
Andini balances the escalating gender constraints on Yuni with an expansive portrait of her heroine’s emotional life. One small, perfect moment illuminates her closeness with her grandmother. The scenes of her and her friends just hanging out talking show an intense, playful intimacy.
Even as she initially rebuffs the boy at the cellphone shop who clearly likes her, she develops a crush on her teacher, Mr. Damar, who tells her she’s the smartest student in the whole school. Moving the story forward in fluid, confident strokes, Andini brings the lightness of Yuni’s passion and dreams into conflict with the implacable logic of custom.
Content advisory: sexually suggestive scenes