Inspiring tales of survival

Different take

And this was the theme of the recently held film screening at Alliance Francaise on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The movie in question was Women Are Heroes. With this film, photographer JR (that’s the name) took the spectator straight into the lives of some exceptional women from various countries like Favelas of Rio to the Kenyan slums, India and Cambodia.

The film offered a different perspective about their battles in everyday life and the expectations from the society. An important aspect of the film was that JR transformed the pictures of these women into life-size posters and had turned the open space into photo galleries on the streets.

The movie was very  dramatic in its technique. Even though the stories were based in economically or socially backward areas, JR through the use of the camera, brought them out in a manner which was neither dark nor depressing.

The colourful houses, narrow lanes, crowded areas were projected in a manner that mirrored the spirit of these women.   

A specially touching scene was that of a 6-year-old girl talking about her life in Rio De Janeiro in a very adult manner. She mentioned the violence, lack of facilities and her father’s death but the one thing that caught the attention of the audience was her love for life and her dreams which remain unscathed.

Another inspirational story was of Shanti, who worked as a construction worker in
Delhi. Fearless and spirited, she spoke about her struggles and yet made it sound
humourous.

The people in the auditorium couldn’t help laughing when she spoke about her second marriage and also her attacking some men who came to rape her.

Through this film, JR paid homage to these women, who in spite of the pitfalls retained their smiles, the energy to go on fighting hoping for a better world.  After the screening, Madhu Reddy initiated an informal discussion on role of photography, women and the film.

Some of the points that came up during the discussion were how the women in the film were presented in an inspirational manner without dwelling on the grey picture.
The film’s last part was liked by many people, when these women become heroes and are asked for their autograph.

An important question that was discussed in detail was about   profiling people. A lot of ideas were given out by the audience, some of whom suggested that it is not always necessary to show the face and that the silhouette or the hands are also enough.

‘Breaking the ice’, with the person concerned was also discussed in length, soon after which the event came to an end.

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