The Official DC Asian Pacific American Film Blog

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Widow Colony

Josh here. I’d like to share my thoughts a couple days after digesting the screening of “The Widow Colony.”

Let me start with the statement that I firmly believe in the power of film to stimulate social progress, especially for segments of humanity that are marginalized, and giving a voice to people that otherwise have none. “The Widow Colony” is a prime example; bringing the story of these widows to an American audience that most likely had little knowledge (including myself) of the genocide that occured in Delhi in 1984.

I won’t go into too many details of the movie, but check out the website for more info:

“The film, directed by Harpreet Kaur, explores the suffering of these women, their battle for justice and their struggle for survival in India… What it achieves in doing most effectively is conveying the trauma that still haunts the lives of these widows… we have forgotten about the survivors and their need for rehabilitation. While the world has moved on marking the massacre as a chapter in history, these widows remain trapped in 1984… The widows express serious doubt in India’s judicial system based on the fact that over 4,000 Sikhs were killed in the capital city alone and 21 years and 11 investigations later, the Government has still not been able to deliver justice.”

I thought the film was well done, although I wish there could have been more background on the buildup to the events. We had a strong turnout for a Sunday afternoon, and I noticed that several people in the audience left the movie with tears in their eyes. One of the most powerful moments in the film for me was when during the interview with the filmaker, one of the widows cried out, sobbing, that she did not want to tell her story unless the interviewer was going to do something about it. Otherwise, she would just rather be left alone, than to be given false hope that someone was actually going to help her. And of course, the filmakers did do something about it, and are traveling the world to screen the movie and raise awareness. Because of this piece of celluloid, things are happening, funds are being raised, and even the prime minister of India is now aware of the movie. Hopefully there will be a breakthrough in the coming future, and if not exactly a happy ending, at least a form of redress.

The production company had team members there to field Q&As, and one of the directors for the opening short, “Sikh on the Street,” also attended.

In closing, my hope is that we will have more filmakers in the Asian American community such as Harpreet that are willing to address these difficult issues. There are so many hidden stories by our communities that go untold, swept under the rugs for fear of “losing face,” or perhaps even sadder, just plain forgotten.


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