Express@TIFF: Vanessa Kirby is terrific in Pieces Of A Woman

Express@TIFF: Vanessa Kirby is terrific in Pieces Of A Woman
Written by Shubhra Gupta |

Updated: September 15, 2020 4:24:45 pm

Pieces of a woman, 180 degree rule, an old womanPieces of a woman, 180 degree rule and stills from an old woman. (Photos: Toronto Film Festival and Busan Film Festival)

Guilt can kill. Especially if the crime is that of a woman, and even more so when that woman belongs to the country where patriarchy is ruled. The 180-degree rule is established in Tehran, and presents us with a nuclear family struggling to come to terms with a tragic event: the husband makes out the blame, the wife is stuck between acceptance and rejection, and the result There is a film that portrays a picture in a marriage and society, where men are taken at their word, and women are suspected.

School teacher Sara (Sahar Dolatshahi), along with her five-year-old daughter, is all set to attend a family wedding in northern Iran, but her cold, distant husband Hameed (Pejman Jamshedi) fights in the works. That his disregard and unbearable consequences would be seen as a sin committed by Hameed is a conclusion: Farnosh Samadi’s first feature also shows us how difficult it is for women to gain sympathy even within their own family. Sarah’s brother who stands with her is an exception. The rest are only interested in pointing fingers.

A subplot involves a schoolgirl, an unwanted pregnancy, and a horrific twist. The parallel film that runs between the schoolgirl and the teacher conveys the message around the mistake and reinforces the blame. You hope to get justice, that Sarah will somehow get out of the situation, but the end of the film’s choice neither leaves her, nor us, with any success. Who, exactly, is guilty?

Hungarian director Kornel Mundrukose’s first English-language film Pieces of a Woman has a kind of thematic relationship with the 180-degree rule. Here another married couple are suffering the same loss, and are killing each other in anger and pain. Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are expecting their first child, and the home birth, monitored by a babysitter (Parker), goes badly wrong. It is not that the problem is clear from the beginning: everything is going well, until something can go wrong, and then things move very fast.

who is to blame? Martha who didn’t want a birth in the hospital, Sean who goes with her, or the midwife who doesn’t appear to understand how things went from recovering to nothing? A woman’s pieces train an uncompensated lens of how quickly seemingly solid humans erupt too, and how things can get out of control with the best of intentions and expertise. There are great performances all round: as a working-class husband who tries a lot to meet the expectations of his upper-class wife, Lebeuf is suitably spikey; As the woman who uses her anger as a weapon to reach anyone, Kirby is terrible; And as Martha’s mother, who carries conflicting memories of her own mother, Ellen Burstyn, is an inspired part of the casting.

The way a woman’s pieces refuse to judge any of her characters in the same way she is inspired. No one is completely guilty, but the way Martha took responsibility for her actions both redefined her, and others who were around her at that critical time. One can get rid of that guilt, which is a powerful, restorative thing.

The relationship we make between crime, crime, and punishment plays out in an unusual way in the Korean drama An Old Lady. The 69-year-old woman is raped by a male attendant while she is in hospital. The trauma visits her waves retrospectively, and causes her to perform certain tasks, including visiting the police station to file a complaint.

It is bad enough that women have the gall to go against men; It is bad when the woman is old, and the man is young and good-looking. Hyo-jeong (Ye Su-jeong) is confronted with: Is it not that she has forgotten things? Isn’t his memory playing clever? Ageism is on full display.

Hyo-jeong is not your average grandmother type. She is slim and trim, her ‘figure’ is a matter of envy among the young women she knows. She dresses well, and an investigative police feel free to comment on her. She lives with Nam Dong-in (Ki Joo-bong), an equally elderly poet and book shop owner; His ‘unmarried’ status raises eyebrows. And while his partner is clearly empowered, even he slides into a moment of doubt. It is not only ageism, it is also sexism.

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Debut director Lim Sun-a makes an unconventional hero, and while the film plunges into a more traditional revenge curve (if the perpetrator won’t confess, there are other ways to make him realize he did the wrong thing), it remains Firmly but sensitively on her feminist path. Gilt-tripping can cut both ways.

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