• Golden Globe Awards

Yuni (Indonesia)

In recent years, we have witnessed a surge of films about women made by women. Yuni, Indonesia’s frontrunner this year belongs to this generation. Director Kamila Andini, already noted in film circles for her previous films (The Seen and Unseen), continues to create stories that bring the secret and oppressed world of women to light. In a statement she published on social media after receiving the Platform Prize at Toronto, she said that her films “are for the voices of women in Indonesia who haven’t been heard …  for every woman in Indonesia and in the world who has been fighting, struggling over the years, finding, trying to find their own liberation.”
This one tells the story of Yuni (Arawinda Kirana), a teenage girl whose passionate and idiosyncratic nature won’t let her succumb to the social norms and requirements. She finds herself caught between the urge to experience life freely and the need to please her family.
Her obsession with purple serves as a metaphor for the heroine’s unfettered personality. It is as if she is claiming that color and its countless hues for herself, along with everything that comes with it: mystery, magic, inspiration. Andini’s gentle touch follows Yuni’s foray into the unknown world of sensuality and love. On one side she appears to be infatuated with her teacher Mr. Damar (Dimas Aditya), and on the other she becomes the object of desire of her shy schoolmate Yoga (Kevin Ardilova). In the meantime, she gets matrimonial propositions by men for whom she couldn’t care less but who nonetheless attract her family’s interest.
In the process of working on a literature project, Yuni and Yoga realize a delicate connection expressed through the boy’s poems scribbled on folded pieces of paper. Amidst conflicting expectations by her family who wish for their daughter to prosper in the local society, and those by a female schoolmaster who prods her to go on with her studies, Yuni cannot but follow the purple-like impulse to know life, love and finally herself.
The film pays tribute and is dedicated to the national Indonesian poet Sapardi Djoko Damono (1940-2020), whose Rain in June is referenced throughout. Andini thus cleverly tells us what her character struggles with but does not succeed in expressing: growing up is not about becoming a lover, a mother or an educated professional. It is about all these little and transient things that alone can enter a girl’s heart and flood it with profundity.