India’s Daughter, distributed in Italy and Switzerland by Berta Film is one of the documentaries in competition for the final selection of the Academy Awards 2016! Congratulations to the wonderful and brave producer/director Leslee Udwin!
Banned by the Indian authorities, Leslee Udwin’s harrowing documentary India’s Daughter has been endorsed by some of Hollywood’s biggest names before its US release on Friday and is tipped for Oscars success.
This documentary, which focuses on the assault of Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi in 2012, may not contain much that will surprise Indians, but its determination to shed light on the country’s rape crisis should inspire change.
Udwin’s film centres on the gang rape and murder of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, which sparked protests across India and caused worldwide outrage. The hour-long documentary features interviews with Singh’s bereaved parents, as well as a number of the accused rapists and their families. Four of the six men charged with sexual assault and murder have been sentenced to death by the Delhi high court.
Last week, Meryl Streep introduced India’s Daughter at a New York event, proclaiming she was on the campaign to get Udwin’s film nominated for a best documentary Oscar. “When I first saw [the film] I couldn’t speak afterwards,” Streep said.
Along with Freida Pinto, Streep was also present at the film’s US premiere in March, a week after the film was screened by the BBC in Britain.
On Tuesday in Los Angeles at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Sean Penn also threw his support behind the film.
Introducing India’s Daughter, Penn said that the film is by no means pleasant to watch, but vital to experience. “I was never sure that films are important – until last week,” he said.
Comparing Udwin’s film to an MRI, Penn added: “It made me ponder manhood. It reminded me of a trip I took with my children many years ago to Tanzania. I remember saying to our guide how extraordinary it was to see a culture last the way it had been for a thousand years. And the guide said to me: ‘Don’t wish the static upon anyone. It will kill them.’”
During a post-screening discussion moderated by educationalist Ken Robinson, Udwin thanked Streep and Penn for their work to promote the film, but stressed that the support she has received in India is more meaningful. A photo showing a rape protestor holding a placard that read “Thank You Leslee” especially moved her, she said.
The documentary was to have initially aired on an Indian television station during International Women’s Day in March, but a court order halted the broadcast. According to Indian authorities, it was done in the interest of maintaining public order.
The film is still banned from playing in India, but after it aired on BBC earlier in the year, it went viral on the internet, attracting a huge audience in India.
Addressing the ban, Udwin said: “I think it’s fair to say that any country that thinks it can ban a film in the digital age should see a psychiatrist.”
She added, however, that she pays a company to try and keep India’s Daughter from being shared illegally on the internet: “I am a law-abiding human being and the film is banned in India, where I have been threatened by prosecution. And frankly, I love India and I want to go back there.”
(source: The Guardian)