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'Dua Garis Biru': An enjoyable, moving coming-of-age tale

Reyzando Nawara
Reyzando Nawara

A film and TV series geek

Jakarta  /  Wed, July 3, 2019  /  01:57 pm
'Dua Garis Biru': An enjoyable, moving coming-of-age tale

The main characters in Dua Garis Biru (Two Blue Stripes) (Instagram.com/duagarisbirufilm)

Teen pregnancy is a growing problem in Indonesia.

Based on data obtained by the Health Demographic Survey in 2017, an average of 500 teenage girls become pregnant every year.

Teen pregnancies could lead to bigger problems for these young women, such as a lack of education and poverty.

Most people tend to blame the supposed delinquent behavior of teenagers as the main cause, instead of advocating for basic sex education in schools.

Gina S. Noer's directorial feature debut Dua Garis Biru (Two Blue Stripes) addresses the lack of sex education in an honest and non-judgmental manner. The story revolves around Bima and Dara, two high school lovebirds. Dara becomes pregnant, leaving Bima – whose family lives in poverty on a riverbank in Jakarta – with no choice but to take responsibility.

If Dua Garis Biru was a lesser movie, it would be much easier to paint one of them as a typical troubled teenager who doesn’t have a moral compass and focuses the narrative as a mainstream love story that tests Dara and Bima's relationship, but Gina’s well-observed script offers something more than that. She provides a character-driven narrative by building subtle, humane and nonetheless funny moments to drive the story as a self-maturing journey.

This is not a movie that neither judges nor justify Dara and Bima's action but instead grounds the aftermath of this life-altering event in the emotions and psychology of the characters, including the parents.

Read also: Sex education urgent as pregnancy widespread among teens

When you're a minor and still have parents, your problem is also their problem and that's what Bima and Dara's parents are facing here. They have to shoulder the consequences of the mistake their children have made. They share the guilt and shame that Bima and Dara are feeling.

Dua Garis Biru provides this perspective to show us that this problem of teen pregnancy will not only affect the couple but also their family. At one point toward the end of the movie, there is a tender, heartfelt interaction between Bima and his mom, played brilliantly by Cut Mini, that offers an insight on what could've happened or avoided had they talked about the sex and its consequences.

People always say that regret will come later, and that is what the parents are feeling. They regret that they didn’t talk enough to their children before. So, when it happened, there's a sense of guilt building inside of them, causing them to blame themselves for what their children have done. They can't forgive themselves because they think that it's their fault.

Gina highlights this journey of forgiveness and acceptance in an emotionally cohesive way by slowly letting them learn that the only person they have to forgive is themselves.

People can't undo their mistakes no matter how hard they try. When we make mistakes, we learn from it and move on. There's no guarantee that we'll stop repeating the same mistakes, but what matters is here is that we learn not to repeat it.

Dara, Bima and their parents can't undo what they've done, and they have to live with the consequences their entire lives, but they've gained a lot more from these mistakes. They morph into the more responsible, adult people because of the silver lining that this event has cost them. There's a hopefulness that Dua Garis Biru radiates to the audience, and I think that's what we need to take from this movie, besides the obvious message of how important it is to have proper sex education in a family.

Through a smart script and fluid direction, Dua Garis Biru is a good drama that has an important value for audiences. But what really permeates every element in the movie is the performances from the cast, especially Zara, whose growth throughout the movie feels very empowering.

She lends a vulnerability and tenderness without eschewing the youth of her character. It's now apparent that her performance in Keluarga Cemara is not a fluke. She's meant to be a great actress, and Dua Garis Biru proves that even more.

There's also an unbroken 3-5-minute-long take that takes place at a school clinic where all of the main characters showcase a fascinating display of emotional range, combining grief, guilt, shame, disappointment and rage in a heart-wrenching way. This scene alone proves that Gina will be a director to watch in years to come.

Dua Garis Biru may have some flaws toward the end, but overall, this movie offers something very refreshing and meaningful to the coming-of-age subgenre in Indonesian cinema. It is not perfect, but nevertheless, still a solid debut. (dev/kes)

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Reyzando Nawara is a film and TV series lover and self-proclaimed reviewer, who loves to look at the humane elements of cinema. He is very enthusiastic when it comes to micro-budget indie movies, especially the ones that feel like a character study. Would love to talk all day about movies and TV series. Go meet him on his Instagram account @reyzview.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.