North American Premiere!
Almost 70 years after independence and 10 years after the installation of the first democratically-elected president, Indonesia’s educational system is increasingly being influenced by Islamic values. This observational documentary follows two modern city girls and their middle-class families during a crucial period in their school careers: their last year at a public elementary school in the city of Jogyakarta in central Java. Kiki and Dila like to listen to pop music, are very interested in their appearance, and giggle about girl stuff. At school, they wear uniforms, everyone prays together, the national anthem is sung, and the girls learn how to behave as they approach puberty. Although Islam isn’t a state religion, its influence on the once-secular school system is growing. The educational system is underpinned by three moral principles: piety, patriotism and discipline. The strictness of the school regime doesn’t seem so bad—for example, Kiki is able to talk her way out of studying the Koran. But once final exams start to loom, things suddenly get very serious, both for the girls and for their parents. A lot is riding on their exam results—the popular schools in the city only take the children with the highest scores.