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'Posesif': The dark side of puppy love

Asmara Wreksono
Asmara Wreksono

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, November 1, 2017  /  01:15 pm

With 10 award nominations at this year’s Festival Film Indonesia under its belt, Posesif, an Indonesian movie directed by Edwin and written by Ginatri S. Noer, is setting the bar high.

The movie tells the story of Lala (Putri Marino) and Yudhis (Adipati Dolken), two high school students who fall in love.

What seems to be a cutesy teenage love flick quickly turns dark when Yudhis turns violent and he can’t control his temper. His possessive behavior towards Lala becomes dangerous when she realizes she is in an abusive relationship.

Posesif captures the seeds of the violent relationship with a keen eye, careful approach, yet able to make viewers severely uncomfortable. Adipati delivers a stellar performance for his portrayal of a mentally disturbed Yudhis. Meanwhile, newcomer Putri portrays love struck Lala with innocence and enough teenage angst to make the character believable. 

Yudhis’ creepiness begins to escalate as the story unfolds and viewers will be presented with the typical behavior of an abuser. Film director Edwin accurately illustrates Yudhis’ irrational bursts of anger, crazy jealousy, manipulative traits, abuse and grand gestures of apology. 

Read also: FFI nominations for ‘Posesif’ stir controversy

While it seems to be a weak storyline, the main characters’ relationship with their parents is one of the strong points of the movie. Yayu Unru’s performance as Lala’s awkward father, who has trouble communicating and motivating his daughter, is on point but strangely forgettable. Cut Mini Theo, on the other hand, becomes the scene-stealer in her coldblooded turn as Yudhis’ dominating mother.

The movie shines a blindingly bright light on a disturbing issue that may be received negatively by some, and that is why it's important.

However, Posesif propels itself to new heights of Indonesian cinematic production with its ability to create discussions on abuse. It may ring alarm bells for people who are in a similar situation. The films also points out that abuse can start at an early age.

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