(director/writer:Kamila Andini; screenwriter: Prima Rusdi; cinematographer: Gay Hian Teoh; editor: Lee Chatametikool; music: Alexis Rault; cast:Arawinda Kirana (Yuni), Asmara Abigail (Suci),Toto St. Radik (Mang Dodi), Muhammad Khan (Imam), Neneng Risma (Sarah), Marissa Anita (Mrs. Lies), Boah Sartika (Uung), Anne Yasmin (Tika), Nazla Thoyib (Nenek, Grandmother), Kevin Ardilova (Yoga), Dimas Aditya (Damar, teacher); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Ifa Isfansyah: Fourcolors Films; 2021-Indonesia/France/Australia/Singapore-in Indonesian (Serang-Javanese), with English subtitles)
“The story has a universal appeal, and is a compelling watch of a bittersweet story that’s sensitively told.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The third feature from the Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini (“Angel Sign”/”The Seen and the Unseen”) is a coming-of-age film based on the screenplay co-written by the director and Prima Rusdi. The film is dedicated to the late poet Sapardi Djoko Damono, whose 1994 poem “The Rain in June” inspired the story. It’s the YA story of the 16-year-old girl Yuni (Arawinda Kirana), who has little choice but to grow up before she’s ready to, while realizing in her country there are often no other choices.
The Muslim Yuni lives as a typical Indonesian teenager: spending time with her girlfriends on her cell phone, gossiping with the girls, dealing with peer pressures and going through romances. She’s part of a superstitious world, where one believes that if a girl turns down more than two marriage proposals she might never marry.
The teen’s favorite color purple (a color often associated with independence) is added to her drab school uniform, as a way for her to demand self-respect. Yuni struggles to ward off traditional arranged marriages by her granny (Nazla Thoyib), who she lives with while her folks are away working in the city. Her aim in growing up is to find out who she really is, as she’s up against a repressive society that wants to suck the life out of its young girls–in school it tests the girls if they’re still virgins and discourages them from pursuing a higher education.
With the help and encouragement of her friend and fellow student, Yoga (Kevin Ardilova), who pines for her love, Yuni fights for her rights to be free and make her own choices.
The story has a universal appeal, and is a compelling watch of a bittersweet story that’s sensitively told.
REVIEWED ON 9/22/2021 GRADE: B-