Kim Longinotto (U.K./India, 2013)
Veteran British documentarian Kim Longinotto’s latest work relates both tragedy and triumph in the remarkable story of Salma, a South Indian Muslim woman who endured a twenty-five-year imprisonment and forced marriage by her own family and in-laws. During her confinement she began writing poems that were smuggled to the outside world. Their publication created a sensation and made her the most famous female poet in the Tamil language, which led her to embark on a political career. Years after gaining her freedom and achieving success, Salma returns to her village and reunites with family—those who locked her up and the sister who shared her small basement room for nine years where their only view was through a small barred window. The visit arouses memories of Salma’s indefatigable urge to make poetry from the oppressions of her life: an abusive father, being taken from her mother, sequestration at puberty, a demanding husband and in-laws. Sadly, her visits with village girls reveal that things haven’t improved: denied education, simple pleasures, and the freedom to move about, girls are still headed for early marriage and a life of hard labor. Salma’s efforts to inspire these girls are admirable, but change is not easy as evidenced by Salma’s own mixed feelings about the path her life has taken.
• Photographed by Longinotto. (90 mins)
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