Gina S. Noer surprisingly flaunts playful imagery and enchanting dialogues to complement the story that, by nature, is powerful—even when the narrative is sometimes overwhelming in Dua Garis Biru.
Instead of condemning premarital sex and/or the lack of sex education among teenagers, Gina S. Noer’s directorial debut, Dua Garis Biru (trans. two blue stripes, referring to the positive mark in home pregnancy test pack) is keen to make the audiences aware of the lack of inter-generational discourses about sex education, that leads to teenage pregnancy and, later, marriage, and the consequence that follows. The movie never judges, manipulates and scolds anybody to convey the message. Even when the drama might be a little overwhelming at times, it ends up being a reflective case study that matters.
The coming-of-age drama centers on the romantic relationship between Dara (Zara Adhistry of the Indonesian idol group, JKT48, Keluarga Cemara), and Bima (Angga Yunanda, Sunyi). Despite the contrasting social status and academic achievement, the fire of love and lust still sparks between them. There’s this one flicker, these unprepared teens finally consummate their love. Long story short, Dara gets pregnant and Bima has no other choice but manning up and taking all the responsibility. Learning from the synopsis, one can immediately mention Jason Reitman & Cody Diablo’s Juno, but, given the cultural subtexts, Dua Garis Biru presents a completely different beast.
You might get upset about the movie’s most crucial revelation for being too trivial and direct; but, that whole set-up might be deliberate. Dua Garis Biru is not intended to dive in melodrama for a story that has become too familiar but has been reduced to a mere taboo subject in society. Instead, it attempts to open up the discussion and observe the conflicts via characters and interactions between them. The breakout is the 6-minute one-take scene set in the infirmary confronting all pivotal characters with all the intensity and emotion, without sacrificing individual performances.
Noer underlines juvenile naivety and reluctance to open two-way discussions with adults in such dire situation as a standpoint. However, the script often blatantly unravels how this teen pregnancy situation affects the parent’s psychology, forcing them to put forward ego and neglect the implicit consequences. The story moves with small, intimate moments crafted with on-point dialogues, rather than boasting melodramatic spectacles. The moments where the lovebirds interact with each other are meant to make audiences aware of their ineptness in ‘trying to grow up’; but, we are not led to judge them, instead, we’re guided to sympathize with these poor teens and their respective family.
Theoretically speaking, family becomes the sanctuary—the safe haven for troublesome teens, when the outside world does not. Dua Garis Biru embraces this credo dearly without ever being preachy on telling what to do and whatnot. The story makes both Dara and Bima’s family an integral part. Dara’s pregnancy opens an old wound to her more established parents (Lulu Tobing and Dwi Sasono); while, at the same time, it becomes a burden for Bima’s parents (Cut Mini Theo and Arswendy Bening Swara). Most of the movie’s strongest moments come for such interactions within the families. Sometimes, it becomes too overwhelming to gasp at one moment, but it’s always heartfelt.
In presenting the story, Noer surprisingly flaunts playful imagery and enchanting dialogues complementing the story that, by nature, is powerful. It works even when the narrative is sometimes overwhelming. Aside from the breathtaking long take, Noer also devices harrowing symbolism to visualize the message that the movie carries. The symbolism tends to be striking and thought-provoking, even when they barely add depth or an underlying message. In most cases, the symbolism works merely as a visual affirmation which strengthens the message. Mesmerizing pictures complement the captivating story made alive by the finest ensemble of casts. It’s a brilliant debut by the director, making a further observation of the troublesome Indonesian high school life she penned in Edwin’s Posesif.