India's Daughter movie full length review - "A decent girl wouldn't roam around at 9pm...a girl is far more responsible for a rape than a boy"
India's Daughter is a very difficult film to watch. And hearing quotes like the one listed above during the course of the film is definitely unsettling.
Now I am not saying you shouldn't see India's Daughter, you really should, but the film is difficult because it's about a horrible case where a young woman was gang raped and very brutally murdered. The details are very unsettling and what's more unsettling are many of the interviews--interviews which reveal a sad rape culture in which the victims are traditionally blamed for these vicious crimes. But I am glad the interviews are in this documentary because instead of a narrator talking about the incidence of rape and violence against women in India, it's the people themselves who talk--and that makes for a stronger, more impactful film.
The story begins back in 2012. A medical student, Jyoti Singh, took some time from her very difficult schedule to go out with a male friend and enjoy a movie. On the bus ride back home in the early evening, the friend was beaten and Singh was gang raped by five men while their friend, the driver, drove them about town during this long and horrible ordeal. When they were finished with her, the men literally tore her to pieces and threw her and her friend from the vehicle. Miraculously, she survived several painful days--long enough to give testimony which helped authorities find the men responsible.
Fortunately, this case was not ignored or swept away. The Delhi police quickly began investigating and capturing suspects. At the same time, students from the nearby university took to the streets to protest this assault as well as to raise awareness of the prevalence of assaults in the country and the devalued role of women. In this country, the UN has estimated that there have been 50,000,000 cases of recent infanticide of females because folks often have so little regard for women. Likewise, violence against women of all types is largely condoned. As for the police, though they appropriately investigated the case, they also attempted to violently squash the protests. But, despite this, protests continued and occurred in other major cities in the country. The government was forced to do something.
The story both outlines the series of events and allows many of the folks involved in the case to talk and give their side. Singh's parents, one of the perpetrators, several defense attorneys, government officials and rape activists all talked about the crime as well as the prevailing pro-rape culture...or, in some cases, made excuses to justify these rapes. In the case of Jyoti, she wasn't able to speak because of her death. One of the convicted men, however, blamed her as she was out late at night and said he and his friends were 'teaching her a lesson'! This is sick, but the lawyers were often even worse in the film, as one defense attorneys stated on two occasions that had Jyoti been a member of his family, he would have poured petrol on her and set her ablaze for being out at night...even if she was with a male escort! It's hard to watch and hear this sort of stuff and you'll likely be filled with anger as well as tears. However this is what makes this a great film--as exceptional documentaries are often great because they cause such a strong affective reaction within the viewer. You are angry and should be angry...and with anger, change is more likely to occur. A truly remarkable and important film, very well made and with an incredibly strong impact. Leslee Udwin has written and directed one of the strongest films of its type I have ever seen and even more remarkable is that this is the first time she ever directed a project!