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TIFF 2021 Review: Yuni – “A believable performance of a teenage girl”

High school student Yuni is beginning to discover her sexuality but is not incline to accept marriage proposals much to the dismay of her family.

Sidelining the academic studies of Yuni (Arawinda Kirana) is the compulsion to steal things that are coloured purple and suitors approaching her family with marriage proposals; the high schooler has no desire to become a wife as she is coming of age and beginning to become curious about sex.

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One of the best moments occurs with Yuni laying on the grass with her female friends talking about having intercourse as the dialogue feels authentic. The crush on the school teacher feels somewhat a stretch though an interesting twist puts the relationship in a different perspective. Initially, the male classmate who obsessed with her seems to be overplayed when it comes to shyness and awkwardness but it paves the way for a character arc.

Arawinda Kirana gives a believable performance of a teenage girl who is naïve and manipulative at the same time. As the story progresses, the most interesting storyline is the interactions that she has with her spurned admirer which comes to dramatic and realistic conclusion. The colour purple is everywhere almost to the point of distraction. The camera is respectful of the actors and serves as an observer. The opening shot embodies the male gaze that propels the narrative forward and the closing one conveys a sense of freedom.

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9-18, 2021, and for more information visit    

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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