Die Before Blossom

Die Before Blossom

Almost 70 years after independence and 10 years after the installation of the first democratically elected president, the educational system in Indonesia is increasingly being influenced by Islamic values. This observational documentary follows two girls and their families during a crucial period in their school careers: their last year at public elementary school in the city of Jogyakarta in central Java.

Kiki and Dila are modern city girls from a middle-class background: they like to listen to pop music, are very interested in their appearance and giggle about girl stuff. At school, all the children wear uniforms, everyone prays together, the national anthem is sung and the girls learn how to behave now that they are approaching 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 the 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, for the popular schools in the city only take those children who get the highest scores.

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Main credits

Djalal, Ariani (film director)
Djalal, Ariani (film producer)
Djalal, Ariani (screenwriter)

Other credits

Camera, Angen Sodo P.; editing, Ariani Djalal, Sebastian Winkels, Amerta Kusuma, Ferry Edwin Sirait; translation, Lisabona Rahman, Gunawan Simamora.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
Southeast Asia
Women's Studies


indonesia; youth; politics; society; religion; islam; human interest; social issues; asia; ; "Die Before Blossom"; Icarus Films