The protagonist of this film is obsessed with the color purple. Her underwear is purple, her stationery is purple, her motorbike is purple, and of course, her favorite drink is iced wine. Very obsessed, he often steals purple things belonging to his friends. “Purple disease”, so called the teacher.
Purple is often interpreted as “the color of the widow”, where widows, in patriarchal culture including in Indonesia, are often considered low. No longer a virgin. Secondhand. Cheap. But when referring to color psychology, purple actually symbolizes courage, strength, wisdom, also synonymous with high degrees.
That is the identity of Yuni, as the first Indonesian film to win at the Toronto International Film Festival for the Platform Prize category (this is the second time Kamila Andini has entered the category after Sekala Niskala four years ago, making her the first director with this achievement). A fight against stigma. Best Movie Site
Set in Banten (the dialogue uses Javanese-Serang language), the story explores the life of Yuni (Arawinda Kirana), a high school student who strongly carries Islamic values. It was so thick that the rohis had full control over various activities. Music is forbidden because of the reason “voice is aurat”, there is also a plan to impose a virginity test for female students.
Yuni is an outstanding student. All of them have good grades, except for Indonesian, which is taught by Pak Damar (Dimas Aditya), a teacher and poet who Yuni admires. With this achievement, of course he wants to continue his studies. Especially after Bu Lies (Marissa Anita with her fluency again proved that she is like a chameleon) shared information about scholarships. But there was one condition that bothered him. Scholarship recipients must be unmarried.
She’s single, but the odds are against her. Early marriages are rampant in his place of residence. Seeing a friend who has just given birth is nothing new. Moreover, it is added to the perspective of parents, who think that girls should get married quickly rather than continue their education.
A total of three people proposed to Yuni. One of them is Iman (Muhammad Khan), who came with his family when Yuni was in school. When the girl came home, they said goodbye, as if Yuni’s voice didn’t matter. On the other hand, there is Yoga (Kevin Ardilova), a first grader who likes his senior, but is too shy to reveal it. Yoga tends to be shy, as well as innocent. When Yuni asks to be accompanied to a nightclub, she asks Yoga to wear clothes that “look mature”. That night, Yoga came wearing batik like he was about to come for an invitation. Movie Review
The script, which was handled by Kamila Andini and Prima Rusdi (What’s Up With Love?, Banyu Biru, Garasi), appears to be simply portraying reality. But the simplicity is so rich, contains a variety of social problems that befell women, with an unusually neat narrative. Each issue is presented naturally, sticking out as a part of life, without any impression of forcing to feed the story with as many messages as possible.
One of the topics discussed was the lack of safe space for women. In addition to being proposed, several of Yuni’s friends were forced to marry for other reasons, such as getting pregnant due to being raped, or avoiding slander after being caught by people dating in the forest even though they weren’t having sex. Once married, women are required to give their husband a baby. If they fail, even if it is due to their husband’s infertility or miscarriage due to a too young age, they are the ones to blame.
Wherever Yuni goes, her freedom is castrated. One time Yuni came to the swimming pool with her friends. They just swim, they don’t even take off their clothes when washing their bodies because the room is open. Some time later, the owner of the swimming pool, an old man with a wife, came to Yuni’s house to propose to her. There is no room for women to feel safe from the stares of men.
Yuni did not miss exploring sexuality, such as the reluctance of women to admit that they did not have an orgasm in order to maintain their partner’s self-esteem, to the view that women masturbating is a strange thing. We can see the difference between male and female directors (especially in Indonesia), when working on this theme. Kamila emphasizes sympathy based on anxiety. Even when it comes to sex scenes, there are no “naughty intentions.” Because sex is part of the character’s process, not the fulfillment of the filmmaker’s personal desires.
The script was inspired by the late June Rain poem by Sapardi Djoko Darmono. “Inspired” is more appropriate than “adaptation”, considering that Kamila and Prima do not visualize the poem (except in its beautiful and powerful closing moments), but absorb its essence, to tell a story about the strength of the character’s fortitude.
Although inspired by poetry, the sentences that come out of the characters’ mouths are far from poetic. On the other hand, very down to earth, typical of everyday conversation, also often tickling and memorable. As soon as the film is widely released, I’m sure the chatter of “No need to date, it’s better if you can’t eat” will be widely discussed, or even become a meme.
Likewise the cry, “Freedom is gone!!!” that was uttered by Suci (Asmara Abigail), the salon owner who had opened the door to life exploration for Yuni. Although outwardly he looks like a “happy-go-lucky” individual, Suci harbors trauma, which is also present from the oppression of women. Asmara appears energetic, almost always smiling, but we know that she uses that smile to bury wounds.
The best performance is certainly exhibited by Arawinda. Yuni’s figure is made like rain, who steadfastly hides her longing for flowers called “dreams” and “freedom”. Every word has a feeling, every look has a meaning, every movement is alive. Top Movie