THE WORLD BEFORE HER
Directed by Nisha Pahuja
Best Documentary Feature, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Best Canadian Feature, 2012 Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival
Best Foreign Film, 2012 Traverse City Film Festival
At the annual Miss India pageant, young women are thrown into the limelight to stand for the nation, their gender, and themselves. At the Durgha Vahini camp, young women learn to fight, fire, and defend according to extremist tenants of Hindu nationalism. What might seem like two documentaries sewn together is one of the most riveting, purposeful, and intelligent takes on women facing the future in recent memory.
As in Errol Morris’s Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, there’s a certain poetry to the way seemingly irreconcilable worlds are interwoven. The cross-cuts are remarkable, and through them we see how these two extremes of femininity are shockingly similar: the training of the body, the sacrifice of desire, the negotiation of tradition. But far from critiquing these extremes, which society, through lenses of feminism, pacificism, and tradition are wont to do, THE WORLD BEFORE HER never scapegoats, focusing on the bold ways in which these young women confidently make sense of the lives they have chosen. Their gaze forward is full of contradiction, but never do we doubt the clarity of their vision as they step into the world.
Canadian documentarian Nisha Pahuja gets extraordinary access into both the militant training camps and the beauty boot camps, and unflinchingly captures in both worlds the sweat, spirit, and excitement of never looking back. –Brian Hu
Fawzia Mirza, Ryan Logan / USA / 2012 / Short / 3 minsA Bollywood love story with a queer twist.
Precedes: THE WORLD BEFORE HER