”Every twenty minutes someone in the world becomes a victim of rape.”
By EJ Wickes
Image (above), Sita, a desperate woman in fear for her life
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began watching “Sita”, a short film by Indian Filmmaker Sandip Pratihar. Rape is a very sensitive subject in most civilized circles. A large percent of the world’s population are not many degrees of separation from those who have had to endure this inhuman act. In some regions it has become an epidemic.
In many countries the autonomous stature of a woman is stripped away and reduced to a level of subservience well beyond any free woman’s experiences or expectations.
Admittedly in America we have a high percentage of sexual violence, but rape in the United States has become a crime that’s prosecuted to the full extent of the law by most standards, in contrast to other countries. Due to how men traditionally regard women in certain demographics; as property in many cases; their judicial systems often do not consider violent crimes against women to be a priority.
In light of all the publicity and recent exposure concerning India with this issue, it’s easy to understand how an Indian filmmaker might consider including this narrative in any one of his or her films. And Director Sandip Pratihar handles the subject exceeding well.
More than a short film; it becomes a beautifully constructed Public Service Announcement. We used to have PSAs frequently decades ago. They were designed to make us reflect. On war, during the Vietnam conflict and the environment, as I’m sure some of you remember the Native American standing by the side of the road, or canoeing through a river of garbage.
I have become more familiar with the filmmakers of Human Lab Corporation and the core values of their mission. As artists, writers and filmmakers, they have committed themselves, not only to the professional development of aspiring filmmakers, but to explore the human condition while making relevant social statements. If art imitates life, this is how life can imitate art; through the encouragement of reflection toward our own actions.
FILM SYNOPSIS: “According to Indian mythology, women are considered to be the center of immense energy and power. At the same time women have been targets of social evil and objects of oppression. Sita is a provocative short film, revolving around the issue of rape in the modern world. The protagonist is about to be attacked by three men and what she does depicts a deep universal meaning and significance. Sita is inspired by Ramayana, where Mother Sita is believed to have been born of the Earth and after a life of displeasure and suffering, she chose to merge with the Earth. The Laxman Rekha drawn by her brother -in- law was to protect her from any evil. Despite that effort she was taken away by Ravana, the villain in the story. Sita represents all women who have the blessing of Nature to procreate; the power to give birth to a new entity in the world. A mother’s womb is a symbol of universal power that she possesses. The crime of rape against women is gravely disrespectful to that universal energy, which all human beings are bound to protect and preserve.”
MATTER OF FICTION
“Time is a series of moments that pass from one to the other. This is a short film of a moment that creates the illusion of flow. The moment is the truth; the flow is an appearance. In this film I have attempted to capture frozen moments of life, when time stands still. These pregnant fractions of life review the truth of our existence. We have crossed through reality and approached fiction through moments in time.” – Sandip Pratihar