Starts April 3
by Jeannette J.
When it comes to telling a difficult story well, this documentary does it with style and grace. Directed and filmed by Dilip Mehta, and written by Deepa Mehta, The Forgotten Woman is unarguably a very informative work and a necessary story that everyone should experience. This documentary tells the story of thousands of women in India, fighting for dignity and a humane existence. The film focuses on the plight of widows in India, and their daily struggles for basic substance and meaning.
These women, perhaps for the first time, tell their own stories in their own ways, in their own words. For some, recounting their childhood marriage, abuse and abandonment by relatives becomes too much even to articulate in words or in tears. That’s when another beautiful aspect of this film comes into play: when the women sing their way through their pain and recount the memories in improvised melodies.
The Forgotten Woman is not some feminist swansong, but, rather a collective calling to humanity. It gives audiences a look behind the scenes of a religious community in India, where widows chant hours a day for food and wages of just six rupees a day. It is there we meet some amazing women with some horrifying stories. But, it is also there that the quest for a sense of wholeness begins to germinate.
Interestingly, a Canadian woman takes on a major role in helping the women in this community, as well as other women, who, despite their marginalization, find power and strength to bring others to a level of hoping again. This film is a story about community even under the harshest conditions.
My take-away from this film is that true love should lead to true purpose; even when the road is not yet paved. This documentary is a treasure and one that deserves at least two viewings by women and men. I give it five fully deserved stars for being well written, well told, painful yet inspirational. In Bengali, Hindi, and English.