Dua Garis Biru
Movie Review Dua Garis Biru 2019
It was intense, sometimes it hit too close to home. I had some drinks to put myself to sleep after watching it in the cinema.
Dua Garis Biru is a film about the struggle of an unexpected pregnancy and how it plays out beyond the couple themselves, ultimately affecting both of their families. It is an almost ideal representative of how such a situation would be like in Indonesian culture. This review will not be spoiler-free so, spoiler alert if you have yet to see it.
While being focused in the whole unexpected pregnancy narrative, the film spreads beyond that specific drama. There are some side stories about retirement problem, parent-child interpersonal relationship, sex education, social stigma, and wealth gap. I find these things relevant and checks into the list of pressing things that are happening in many cities of Indonesia.
I’m really glad that writing-wise, this film gave me so much more than I expected: realistic storyline with realistic characters, relevant issues, and attention to details. Though lacking in the later hours of the film when Dara had to leave for college in South Korea (more on to that later), I still find the story compelling in general. Each of the characters are well written with strong suits tailored to each of them. They all have a very distinct attribute to them, making the film quite interesting to see how it unfolds. More over, things like having both of your parents arguing over one matter was written in a realistic manner. It gave me anxiety watching Dara’s parents fight over buying some clothes for the baby.
Now, the part with Dara decided to left the baby with Bima’s family while leaving for college abroad, wasn’t elaborated very well in the final cut of the film. Personally, I do not see it as an issue, but after talking with a friend of mine who watched it with me – they thought that without elaborating Dara’s personal feeling and conflict of interest, some people might get the wrong idea and think that Dara and her family was being selfish for still trying to go abroad for school. I believe this is not the case but once again, people can have different take on watching something. So I just thought that I would maybe like it a little better if Dara was seen feeling troubled, stressed, or even sad (way sadder than she already is) when she had to leave the baby and move abroad.
As I said earlier, wealth gap was one of the issues represented in the film. I really liked that they use everything in their power to give you an idea of that wealth gap – between Dara’s family and Bima’s family. Styling, hair & makeup, set design, and even minuscule dialogues. Notice how they use different noun in both house. Bahasa Indonesia has more than three nouns to call both of your parents, and they utilize it. Dara called her parents “mama” and “papa” while Bima’s parents are called “ibu” and “bapak.” You can see how Bima’s family tend to be old-fashioned, more religious, and living a less wealthy lifestyle compared to Dara’s. Also notice how Dara’s father calling his wife with “ma” and immediately switched to calling her by first name when she snapped in the school infirmary. I just think it’s one of the great details they put in writing this film, and they deserve a credit for it.
Props to the cast, crew, and director for pulling few continuous shots throughout the film. It’s such a brave decision to do so and it is very rewarding to see it succesfully deliver the intensity of those scenes without breaking audience’s immersion in the scene. Some of those scenes were greatly orchestrated and I’m loving it. It’s quite unusual to see less edit and longer shots in Indonesian films, and I hope this will become a trend among Indonesian filmmakers to try something like this. I believe a scene that relies on the performance of its actor works better than an edited dialogue or interaction.
And I gotta admit, the trailer is not representative of what the film has to offer. It’s somewhat misleading and putting my expectations on the lower end for this film. Can’t really blame the filmmakers since I know that trailer is usually edited by the publishing studio.
Now I don’t quite have all the screengrab I needed because I don’t think the film is out in digital yet, but did you remember when Bima and Dara had a pretty serious argument and the screen was literally split by a tree trunk in the middle separating both of them? Or when Dara almost always reflected on a surface be it a mirror, a window, or just some glass every time she had an internal thought? Or the most important one in the whole film: a shot where Bima took Dara to his hood walking from the streets, through a small courtyard, and through a tight dark alley? Did you remember how in that scene, all of the extras play an important role in acting out a lower-income neighbourhood in Jakarta? And Dara, as foreign as she is to that neighbourhood – was visually represented with that dark alley (or tunnel, if you will) shot. Often in many films, when a character walks through a tunnel from one side to the other, it shows a change of pace, a change in their world. Because tunnel, quite literally – is a gap between worlds. Dara, stepping down from her wealthy place up there, into Bima’s world. A place past that dark alley. And it’s the same thing when Dara was picked up by her parents that noon walking on a bridge crossing the river.
There are a number of clever framing done in this film by the DP Padri Nadeak. The most notable one is the use of natural frame in his shots. Take example from the picture above: The school committee, and the parents just found out that Dara was pregnant. Bima stood there admitting that it was his fault. Watch how each and every gaze are pointed at him and him only. How each and every person in that room are in a single frame, leaving Bima alone on the right hand frame. Even pictures of the president and vice president was kind of oddly cropped – maybe to avoid having those two faces not looking at Bima. In the school infirmary, the one long shot and one of the most important moment in the film – the framing plays a massive role on how the scene is depicted. You could see the separation betwen the two families, the anger and sadness filling the room, the anxiety! And it doesn’t stop there, after the PE teacher walked in with the principal closing the curtains behind them and leaving one window opened – it was intentional. It was so that we could have a visual cue that people around them would want to see inside, they want to know what’s going on – even after it was covered up.
I enjoyed how they put an effort to make sure each and every detail are important. They really nailed it when they had to set the mood in a scene. How it’s quiet in Dara’s house, but the complete opposite when it comes to Bima’s. And as Bima explained to Dara how the walls in his place are thin, the dangdut music in the background is actually some iteration of “Jablai” by Titi Kamal, a song about unexpected pregnancy. Props to anyone who had the idea to put this easter egg.
The abortion scene is also strong with symbolism. In one shot, you could see Dara and Bima coming in on a scooter bike – riding past a shady massage place with a sign that was kind of obscured but likely to read “Urut Pijit untuk gugurkan kehamilan” (traditional massage to abort pregnancies), and a juice cart that had five pineapples on top of it. Pineapple, being one of the fruits believed to help abort pregnancies as well. I don’t think I need to point out that strawberry scene, I think you all can understand it just fine. Still, a great way of implying something gruesome without having the film being rated R is something impressive. Even in the classroom, one day after Bima and Dara had sex – you could hear the teacher was teaching biology, specifically human reproduction. Don’t forget that infirmary scene again where the shot started with Dara alone in that room with human reproduction organs poster and human growth from copulation to adult poster. It’s amusing to see such details being put in a film produced in Indonesia. I’m glad that Indonesian film production gets better and better each year.
At the end, this film didn’t choose the most convenient ending or a happy ending on that matter. I loved it.
It’s bitter, it’s saddening, to see Dara having to leave her baby right after she put her life on the line for that baby. That very child of her and Bima.
Don’t even get me started on how Bima said that he will try to be a good father and raise their child with all his might – despite all of the things he’s lacking. All while having to be separated from Dara. The film ends with Dara and Bima separated, and Dara cried in a very dramatic manner. Once again, it’s not the easiest ending to choose both by Bima & Dara in the story and by the filmmakers writing and directing this film.
But then again, isn’t that what Bima & Dara have been feeling the whole time? Sad, bitter, angry, and hopeless? Might as well having us the audience feeling that way when leaving the theatre.
Hi everyone, thanks for reading my review of Dua Garis Biru. My name is izzy and I’m a Jakarta based filmmaker, VJ, and music video director. You can see more of my stuff over on Instagram (https://instagr.am/vngnc). As a footnote, I did cry one time when watching this film – it was the moment Dara had an argument with her mom, and then her dad stepped in to tell her not to speak to her mom with a high tone. I don’t know why maybe it hit too close to home. K thanks bye love yall.
IZZY Instagram is here!
Check out their OST on Spotify, Pamungkas, and other artists are part of it!