Film director Hanung Bramantyo might not have foreseen that his new film Kartini would be in resonance with the snowballing ideas on women’s resistance in the country, which gained momentum on National Women’s Day in December amid heightening pluralism and religious intolerance.
When he started two years ago, cowriting the script based on extensive documentary and field research, his purpose was merely to present the true story of a young lady from a noble.
Javanese family whose progressive ideas on equality and the right of women to be educated at the turn of the 20th century led her to be named a national heroine for female emancipation and to her birth date on April 21 to be commemorated as Kartini’s Day.
However, the film revealed much more than what was written in school history textbooks.
Kartini was not the first slice-of-life film about the rebellious princess of coastal Jepara, Central Java, but by far it was the only one that explored her wide spectrum of interests and her influences.
Hanung was eager to put in the movie the issues of the family in which Trinil — the childhood name Kartini was affectionately called – was brought up, her relations with her siblings, her biological mother and her father’s wife.