Movies I wish I talked about more
(TW: Rape, Sexual Assault, Violence)
The Girl in The Book (2015)
Set in the world of New York publishing, a young book editor is forced to confront a troubling chapter from her past when a bestselling author re-enters her life.
When I first watched this movie I was about 14 and although the tragic tone of the film had enthralled me from the onset, it was only recently that I realised the importance of the narrative surrounding trauma, sexual abuse and the abuses of power. This movie is powerful, and no, not in the sense of 'jump off your seat' action and CGI, its realism gives it power. Cohn didn't shy away from creating a damaged main character, Alice, with self destructive tendencies and an inability to allow herself to experience happiness due to the trauma in her teenage years.
Alice was abused by a family friend and writer Milan Daneker fifteen years earlier through the guise of offering to help her hone in on her literary talents and becoming the father figure she was missing in her life. We learn this through flashbacks, triggered first through the reentering of Daneker in Alice's life and she falls down the rabbit hole of her past once more.
Alice is stuck in a rut, unable to move forward with her life without the guilt and inability of allowing herself to feel happiness after the events of her childhood. She struggles in all aspects of her life yet on the other side of the coin Daneker is at the height of his career. A career she helped build; having been exploited for Daneker's main character in his novel. A character Alice had been living in the shadow of for 15 years.
There are parts in this movie that are unsettling; the exploitation of young Alice at the hands of Daneker and in the almost sinister air evoked in all of these encounters between these two characters, in the flashbacks as well as in the present.
This movie isn't all hopeless though. Cohn lets the light shine through...eventually and I guarantee you'll be smiling as the story draws to a close.
Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
When three young women are implicated in a crime, a retired lawyer steps forward to help them clear their names.
Bollywood movies have a history of shying away from controversial issues regarding sex and gender and admittedly, I too tend to steer away from the more progressive latest editions to the Bollywood movie scene to favour the more stereotypical, light-hearted romances that more often than not depict one type of gender dynamic. My affinity to these types of Bollywood romances is completely rooted in nostalgia, having grown up on Kabhi Kushi Gham, Main Ho Na and Kuch Kuch Hota He (all of which star Shah rukh khan...) and it is this affinity that lead me to find Pink. The movie stars a familiar face, Amitabh Bhachan, but it is the female cast and their characters that made this movie so moving.
Pink centres around ideas of rape, sexual assault and the role of women within Indian society, topics that were oftentimes seen strictly as taboo. These women were not presented as embodying the role of the traditional Indian woman and in turn the movie seeks to tackle the awful notion that a women must be modest in order to be respected and that clothing does not constitute consent.
The movie deals with the corrupt law enforcement and justice system in a way that I'd never seen in the Bollywood sphere and it was refreshing.