Israeli film “Cheer Me Up”, which deals with domestic violence, had its world premiere at the ongoing 22nd Kolkata International Film Festival. Its makers say many women don’t realise they are being suppressed.
Helmed by female directors Mili Ben Hayl and Tamar Shippony, “Cheer Me Up” is based on true life events surrounding Hava Luzon, who experienced suppression and domestic violence for 20 years before finally finding her way out.
“We hope we can get it to wider audiences because it is an important issue and it happens across the globe,” said Mili at the film fest on Tuesday, a day after the premiere.
“Usually when people think about domestic violence, they think about the physical aspect of violence. But there are so many aspects of violence that no one is talking about and you want to touch upon subtle areas of violence which people don’t think is violence at all,” Mili added.
This film started out in a writing workshop for women where the filmmakers met Luzon, who is credited as the scriptwriter along with Mili.
Speaking out against domestic violence, Luzon who has three children, said many women don’t realise they are under suppression.
“My life started closing in on me. I had to give up my will,” summed up Luzon about those harrowing two decades.
Shippony said the film distils down the crucial 48 hours of Luzon’s life into 75 minutes, where she starts thinking of the possibility of leaving her husband. Further, the film steers clear from portraying the husband as the bad guy.
“It focuses on 48 hours where the protagonist is thinking about leaving, how she is going to do it and if that’s actually possible. It was not physical violence… She was not beaten by her husband. In the film, the husband is loving and is not willing to give up on her,” Shippony said.
“It is interesting to note that one out of three women face domestic violence and most women are murdered after they have run away from the husband, not while they are with them. So there are complexities associated with domestic violence,” emphasised Shippony.