Whether be it in India or Middle East, at some household or the other, some women, be it a small girl or a mother, at some point of time has felt the horrors of oppression. Thus talking about female oppression or hearing about it is not something new, but Sawsan Al- Areeqe brings to us a story of the oppressed through the medium of a ‘Photo’.
Sawsan Al- Areeqe, started off her career as a poet. Writing short poems revolving around a single idea. But when her work started to receive criticism, she thought it would be wise to shift to film making. “Through film making I can convey the entire idea in visuals and can also widen the range of my prospective audience” says Sawsan.
Sawan is a Yemeni film maker, from an orthodox family background. ‘Photo’ is officially her second film, through which she hopes to spread the message, ‘be the first of you kind to create a change for yourself and others.’
Q. What is the movie ‘Photo’ about? And why did you choose to name your film ‘Photo’?
A. The film ‘Photo’ is very special to me. I come from an orthodox background and have suffered the consequences of being oppressed and feel undermined in your own household. Thus, I wanted to make a film in which I can show the horrors of being oppressed in your own home.
The reason I choose to name my film, ‘Photo’ was because I wanted to illustrate the story in a very simple form without dialogues and just visuals. And the best and the simplest way was to show it through the medium of a picture.
Q. Being oppressed by you society, did it ever bring you down?
A. What I want to point out is that the barriers, the closed society, and other related issues will always be there, but being a woman should not be in this society doesn’t mean you live in the fear of being undermined. Instead it is important to voice you opinions, because society may not change and that should not stop you from living your life as you want to. And that is exactly what I did and that is exactly why I made this film- to voice my opinion.
Q. What do you think, is this issue culturally or socially inherited?
A. This idea is not social neither is it cultural, it is purely negative, which is blindly been followed generation after generation. But the silver lining is that things are now changing. Previously girls used to get married at young ages, they were not allowed to read because it was thought that if a woman in the household is smarter than the man in the family it might destroy society…so on. But it is not the case today, it is much more open than it used to be. Things have not completely changed, but doesn’t mean it will never.
Q. What is you message to those men who still live with a mind set (in the 21st century) that the woman are domestic entities, who have to live their lives confided within the four walls and take care of the family?
A. I don’t have anything particular to convey to those who oppress their sisters, wives and kids, but what I do hope for is that among all the women in the closed society, even if one comes forward and raise their voice to let the men know what they want their identity to be in the society, then chances are that at least a few of the men will understand and realize that controlling and undermining the women in their household id wrong. And a woman should not wait until she is permitted to raise her opinion, instead she should fight for it and take what is rightfully theirs and that is freedom. Also I feel when a women does fight to get her freedom and prove to be successful in whatever she wants to achieve then they make no one happier than her man, the same man who ones opposed her from doing what she achieved today.
By Stijita Chattopadhyay