TOP 5 Female Centric Movies that always liberate me!
“Empty and dark shall I raise my lantern.
And the guardian of the night shall fill it with oil
And he shall light it also.”
- Kahlil Gibran
Just replace ‘he’ with ‘she’ and you’ve got my mantra of life. When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, I just turn on these movies. Then somewhere along the path of escapism into celluloid, I discover the light that leads me to the end of the tunnel.
Here's my pick of top 5
It’s a movie adaptation of the book that I sneaked out of my mother’s library. It was one of those books that I wasn’t allowed to read as a kid because of my ‘impressionable’ mind.
It was the love-story of Chandra Gupta Murya, the great Indian king of Maurya Empire and his courtesan Chitralekha. That’s what it was.
For me however, it was the story of Chitralekha- a girl who had a mind of her own in 340 BCE, India - a girl who never followed anything out of devotion, a girl who raised questions, followed logic, a dancer who dared to challenge Pundits & their isms.
For me, the most inspiring part is where a great hermit has a face- off with Chitralekha. He comes to her, insults her mannerisms, preaching her morality; she presents an elegant dance dissing his ways with a beautiful smile.
She demands to know-
“What is a sin?
What is virtue?
Stamp of religion on traditions.
But, don’t religions change in every century?
How can you make them your ideals?”
These questions that she raised, added a prism to my vision and suddenly things weren’t about white light & darkness but an arch of rainbow colors!
This vision threshes the situation makes it naked. It sifts it free from husks of social norms, suddenly the problematic knot untangles.
4. Belle De Jour
Long before 50 Fifty Shades of Grey, there was Belle De Jour, Catherine Deneuve. I will be honest with you. I watched the movie because I HEART those Roger Vivier courts that she wears. I am a 90s child, growing up with Victoria Beckham’s knee-aching heels, idolizing Sarah Jessica Parker’s impractical stilettos, I was shocked at her choice to wear mid-heels to essay a super sensuous character. This knowledge that I don’t have to twist my ankles to be sexy appealed to me. The movie took this liberation one notch up.
It just puts female sexuality on front line. A perfect woman, with a perfect husband, embraces prostitution to fulfill her sexual desires.
The essence is not the ‘no..no..yes..Yes..God Yes. YEEEEES’, but it penetrates further. We live in a society where people wear two masks, pretend to be someone else to please others. How amazing it would be to see ourselves for who we are, how liberating it would be to come out of our repression & shed our hypocrisy?!
3. Shrek (Part 1)
If you ever meet me, you will remember me for the rest of your life- because I am a ‘Clutz’illa. I break & bang things in a super human way! Thankfully I’ve always gotten away with it because people think it’s kinda cute. But a big fear in my life was that one day I’ll stop being pretty and then people would stop being accommodating of my clumsy ways. The day beauty will go, loneliness will creep in. Princess Fiona without her magic wand liberated me of this anxiety. I don’t have to be pretty to be loved, I don’t have to be anything, I just have to be me to have my Happily Ever After.
Wadja as a movie can be an incident that may create history.
It is about a girl craving for freedom. All 10-year-old Wadjda wants is a cycle; something that she won’t be able to ride when she grows into a woman.
The movie is set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where women are forbidden to walk un-chaperoned or uncovered in the streets. So, the film’s director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, had to instruct her cast and crew on walkie-talkie, from inside a van! It is the first movie ever to be shot by a Saudi woman. This movie always reinforces my belief that things may not be right now, but someday they will be. But, we woman, need to act on that wish like Haifaa (the director of Wadja) did.
And, the no.1 movie that resonates with liberation is:
It’s Rambo, Rocky, Die-Heart all in one for me. What better way to lift spirits than to kick some ass. When everything else fails, there’s a solace in the fact that I am woman, I am entitled to have world at the tip of my sword, I just need to gather myself up & claim it.