All people are born equal. It’s a nice sentiment but ludicrous to believe that it’s actually true in practice. Where you’re born in the world makes a huge difference to your life prospects. What standard of living you can expect. Your life expectancy. Then there’s the socio-economic level of your family, which dictates the opportunities you might have and the help you may receive. If you’re born a girl, there’s a whole new level of inequality and injustice. As is the case for Yuni.
Yuni (Arawinda Kirana) is a bright and inquisitive teenager who dreams of going to college and expanding her horizons. However, the Indonesian society she lives in has other ideas. The Islamic Club at school has banned musical activities and there’s even talk of mandatory virginity tests. Girls are expected to marry, but if she wants to go to university then she must remain single. Yuni concentrates her efforts on getting the best grades while a number of suitors knock at her door.
Yuni is a coming-of-age story with a twist in the tale. Kirana is superb as the determined titular heroine, prepared to do anything to secure her academic future while rebutting, with increasing difficulty, a number of marriage proposals. Kamila Andini’s film pits her against a patriarchal and traditional society and tackles a number of socio-economic issues. Yuni is a fine drama. One which captures the exuberance of youth but also the potential perils for countless young women.
Yuni screens at Glasgow Film Festival.