Raising their collective voices

Raising their collective voices

What does it take to be a woman on the street where men heckle, follow, touch or disparage in public spaces? Armed with only a video camera, Hadleigh-West (from the US) demonstrates this experience as she turns out and confront her abusers and reclaims space that was stolen from her.

She captures the firsthand account of the situation in her film War Zone which was recently screened the ongoing international documentary film festival ‘Open Frame’ by Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT). But it was not the only film dealing with women related issues in the festival. An array of such films are being screened
from September 13 onwards and will continue till September 17.

It Was Rape by Jennifer Baumgardner of... narrates the story of eight women who tell diverse personal stories of sexual assault. Similarly, Anita - Speaking Truth to Power by Freida LeeMock from the US, is about an African-American woman who sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men and with a clear, unwavering voice, recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had faced while working with US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

A film that came as a shock was The Invisible War, a ground-breaking investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape within the US military. Focusing on the powerful emotional stories of rape survivors, the film is a moving indictment of the systematic cover-up of military sex crimes, chronicling the women’s struggle to rebuild their lives and fight for justice.

In the light of the spate of public discourse around violence against women, these films ‘of and by women’ presented an analysis of the lived realities and experiences of women, across space and time, as individuals, groups and citizens. It was move to recognise the inter-related nature of women’s marginalisation across the multiple identities they inhabit and negotiate.

Though a majority of the films screened at the festival focused on women-related issues, there were films that explored other aspects like theatre and science. Tamil Arangam, was the personal journey of the South Indian actress Revathy through the history of various art forms that have influenced Tamil theatre.  

The Quantam Indians by Raja Choudhary is a story of three Indian scientist-Satyendra Nath Bose, CV Raman and Meghnad Saha- who revolutionised the world of Physics and Indian science in the early part of the 20th century.

On the other hand, Pooja Iyenger’s Dr Paws talks about the innovative and unconventional approach of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), with dogs which helps both children and adults with cognitive, behavioural or psychological problems that modern medicine is still struggling to find answers for.

As screening will continue till Tuesday, don’t miss your chance to catch up with films like Blood On My Hands (Surabhi Saral, Manak Matiyani, Anandana Kapur), Forbidden Voices: How To Start a Revolution With a Computer (Barbara Miller), Urban Ox (A K Bir), To-Let (Spandan Banerjee), The Kingdom of Women (Dahna Abourahme), Ana Ahlaam (Pierre Salloum), Finding Face (Skye Fitzgerald), The Diary of Refugee (Bishnu Dev Haldar)and Rafea: Solar Mama (Mona Eldaief and  Jehane Noujaim).