A sprawling yet intimate documentary following six girls on the brink of womanhood from all corners of the globe, the girls are honest and charming and they draw you in with the power of their stories.
Careful timelapse photography serves as an apt visual metaphore for the contrasting environments these girls live in, from the towering mountains of Afghanistan to the clashing lights of Times Square. This is interspersed with the minutiae of each girls’ daily lives which simultaneously highlights their similarities and differences, from studying to motherhood to weddings and boyfriends. The film provides a succinct and fascinating snapshot of life for girls and women across the world in the 21st century.
Their voices narrate the film, which, in a way, gives them some autonomy in a world where they have little – they are telling their own stories.
Aziza – Afghanistan – 17. Her father was kind to her even though she was a daughter and ‘did not deserve kindness’. She cries when she talks of how he was shot by the Taliban. She tells us the Taliban believe that a woman who seeks education should be put to death.
Breani – USA – 16. Her mum is unemployed and hopes that Breanni can provide the family income through her music. Breanni doesn’t know where her dad is. She dated a boy who tried to control her, wouldn’t let her go out at certain times, he punched the wall on a daily basis.
Katie – Australia – 17. She’s aware of her privilege, she’s a self-described nerd who loves Doctor Who, she suffers from depression. She talks about self worth, lack of self worth. A sucide attempt. The only time she ever saw her dad cry was after her suicide attempt.
Kimsey- Cambodia – 14. The only income her family has is from her prostitution. She tells stories of gang rape, of selling her virginity at age 12. She has a frail mother and a boyfriend who threatens her with violence on a daily basis.
Manu – Papua New Guinea- 19. She was scared to tell her parents she was pregnant. She is married at 19. She is scared the doctors will cut her, or her baby will be stolen when she gives birth to it in the hospital. The birthing room at the hospital is crowded and dim. There are bloody footprints on the floor. She gives birth in almost complete silence. Her family worries about the bride price from her marriage.
Habiba – Cameroon – 17. She is marrying the man who is 39. It is her choice to marry him. He tells her that women should be quiet, calm, should know how to calm a man down. Her job is respect. She hopes that her wedding will be a happy one and not violent like others she hears about.
Film director Rebecca Barrie says on the website that she wants to ‘facilitate stories’ and ‘get people thinking’.
You can send each of the girls postcards of support telling them their stories are important.
I sent one to each of the girls because I couldn’t decide.
Which one would you send a postcard to and why? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.