Hasidic Jew, Muslim, Shinto Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu: The five repression-battling women profiled in this doc come from different religious backgrounds but find that patriarchal fear of female sexual autonomy is universal.
Documentary filmmaker Barbara Miller (Forbidden Voices , SIFF 2013) showcases five extraordinary women from around the world who are fighting to liberate female sexuality from extreme religious and cultural constraints. Born into an ultra-orthodox Hasidic community in Brooklyn, Deborah Feldman found herself at 17 married and expected to offer obedience to a man she did not know, before having a child and deciding to escape; Somali immigrant Leyla Hussein, genitally mutilated as a child, is now a London-based psychotherapist who has challenged the U.N. to protect the rights of Muslim women in fundamentalist countries; manga artist Rokudenashiko creates strikingly original art, including plaster reproductions of her own vulva, in protest of Japan's demonization of female sexuality as "obscene"; former nun Doris Wagner has become a voice for reform in the Catholic Church after authorities within the Vatican blamed her for "not resisting enough" after she reported being raped by a priest; and in India, educator Vithika Yadav is battling an epidemic of sexual harassment through an innovative education project that challenges strict Hindu conventions against discussing sexuality. Miller has combined the stories of these courageous activists into a surprisingly intimate and life-affirming tale of strength and courage, one that illustrates the value of allowing every woman the right to choose not only female pleasure, but also their own destinies.
Barbara Miller was born in 1970 in Zurich, Switzerland, and holds an undergraduate degree in film studies, psychology, and philosophy, and a first-professional degree in law from the University of Zurich. She spent two years working as an assistant director and editing assistant on Christian Frei's Oscar®-nominated documentary War Photographer (2001), and has since worked as a freelance documentarian.
Sponsored by The Stranger
- Director: Barbara Miller
- Principal Cast: Deborah Feldman, Vithika Yadav, Rokudenashiko, Leyla Hussein, Doris Wagner
- Premiere Status: North American Premiere
- Country: Switzerland, Germany
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 97 minutes
- Producer: Philip Delaquis
- Screenplay: Barbara Miller
- Cinematographers: Anne Misselwitz, Gabriela Betschart, Akiba Jiro
- Editors: Isabel Meier
- Music: Peter Scherer, Martin Kuhnert
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Locarno International Film Festival 2018 (Premio Zonta Club Award); Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival 2019 (Amnesty International Award, WIFT Award)
- Filmography: Forbidden Voices (Doc., 2012)
- Language: German, English, French, Japanese
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- Format: DCP
- US Distributor: Abramorama
- International Sales: CAT&Docs