Why ‘Women Talking’ Didn’t Show Sexual Violence On Screen – The Hollywood Reporter


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dated: 2022-11-18 18:47:53 .

women speak premiered Thursday night at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles, following the film festival earlier this year.

Based on Miriam Toews’ novel of the same name, the film follows eight women living in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith after a series of sexual assaults. The story is inspired by a true event in which women in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia were drugged and raped in their sleep for four years.

Although the film deals with the trauma of sexual violence, the audience never actually sees the violence on screen – a conscious decision by director and screenwriter Sarah Polley to focus the story on women.

“Rarely have I found that a sexual assault captured on film was added or necessary to the film,” Polley said The Hollywood Reporter on the carpet. “I think what was important in the case of this film was the impact that these attacks had on these women, how they deal with it, how they deal with it, how they get out of danger – not the attack itself.”

“I felt there was probably no way you could do that without it being gratuitous and unnecessary, and given that it’s probably traumatic for some people to watch, you have to have a very good reason to show that,” the director added. “I just felt it was more important to talk about the moment after the attack, when there’s chaos in the brain, and the conversation between these women about how to separate themselves from the circumstances.”

The film also featured a clinical psychologist, Dr. Lori Haskell, who specializes in post-sexual assault trauma. dr. Haskell has been with the cast and crew to help them through difficult times, and has also served as a research resource to understand how brain chemistry changes after sexual assault.

“It was very important for me to know that everyone knows that they can move out at any time, that we can take a break, that we can get some fresh air, that the clock will not be ticking for us when people just need to recover for a minute,” he said. Polly.

“It created a loving and safe environment and really set the bar for me as a young actor to know what the standard of any working environment should be,” noted actress Shayla Brown. “Sarah Polley made us feel safe and made us, especially young actors, realize that a perfect shot is not worth our mental health.”

Even when the cameras weren’t rolling, after several months of filming in Toronto, the cast and crew remained close.

“Getting women to stop talking so we can make that movie women speak it was a real challenge,” laughed Sheila McCarthy. “We were together all the time for months. It was like being in a theater. You don’t see each other that often in movies.”

Rooney Mara and Claire Foy Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Produced by Frances McDormand (who also appears in the film), women speak Starring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw and Judith Ivey. With such a topical and critical topic, Foy hopes the film will spark further conversation long after audiences have finished watching.

“The thing that struck me about the screenings we had is that it’s actually a conversation that continues after people see it,” Foy said. “I really hope that people will see it in a group, that they will see it with their friends, that they will bring the film to people that they think should see it [or want to see it anyway,] but also people who need to see it for educational purposes. I really don’t think I’ve ever been a part of something so important to society. It really gives me hope for what movies can do.”

women speak comes to theaters on December 2.

Judith Ivey and Frances McDormand Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic


Why ‘Women Talking’ Didn’t Show Sexual Violence On Screen – The Hollywood Reporter

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