Yesterday, 25 November, was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is a sad anniversary established in 1999 by the United Nations, which specified that by violence we mean “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”. While, unfortunately, there are still those who are complicit in a culture based on horrible stereotypes about men-women relationships, here are 5 interesting films full of food for thought on the subject.
Thelma & Louise
It is a 1991 film about two girlfriends, Thelma and Louise, who, tired of being neglected and treated badly by their partners, decide to leave for a girls getaway. But as soon as they try to have fun, they will have to deal with a reality in which men feel entitled to undress women after a few minutes of dancing in a club. The two women will find themselves taking very difficult decision in order not to give up their dignity and freedom.
The Magdalene Sisters
Awarded with the Golden Lion in 2002, The Magdalene Sisters not only deals with gender-based violence as we know it, but it also deals with a more subtle form of violence which are the same women that inflict it on other women. In the film it is amplified, by setting the story in an Irish Catholic institution in the 1960s. Here, women victims of violence are sent because labeled as “fallen” for their promiscuity and in need of being redeemed by the nuns.
In this thriller Jennifer Lopez plays Slim, a single waitress who believes she has finally found the man of her dreams, after the latter defends her from a client who harasses her. The two get married and have a daughter, but it is only after the wedding that Slim realizes that Mitch is actually a violent, unfaithful and possessive man. Thus will begin her escape …
I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced
Director Khadija Al-Salami is one of the few who had the courage to bring a sad but real theme to the screen. In several countries, girls are seen as a burden on families who decide to “sell” them to older men through arranged marriages, even before they have reached puberty. This is precisely what happens to little Nojoom, who will still fight to divorce her husband.
The Invisible Man
It is a very recent film (2020) based on the novel of the same name by H.G. Wells. The protagonist has long been trapped in a toxic and violent relationship with a wealthy businessman. Cecilia, sick of her situation, decides to drug him and flee. Shortly after the man will commit suicide, but after his death a series of strange incidents will begin. The skilled Elisabeth Moss had already took the role of a victim of violence, in the gripping TV series The Handmaid’s Tale, where women are divided between state officials’ obedient wives and sex slaves, the handmaids, whose sole purpose is to give birth to children for high society families.