Period. Criticism at the end of the sentence: The Oscar-winning documentary is in principle aspirational and generally ineffective


Period. End of sentence

director: Rayka Zehtabchi

editor: Sam A Davis

cinematography: Sam A Davis

The world of Period. End of sentence is one of uninhibited dreams, of clear skies and open fields. However, the film is about hope, which is stifled in the wake of the patriarchy. But as one of the protagonists says: "We will still work hard", that sums up the irony.

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Rayka Zehtabchi's short direction aims to eliminate stigma, fear, insecurity, ignorance and poor parenting that are inherent in a woman's life. Your tool – a humble looking sanitary napkin. The film opens in a room where two teenage girls shy away when asked to talk about menstruation.


Yes, that's what we're initially faced with – misinterpreted and bitter truths that surround menstruating women. Then it slowly begins to unravel the myth.

As it turns out, we all know, but we don't talk about it. "Menstruation is the biggest taboo in India," said Arunachalam Murauganantham, the social activist from Coimbatore who led the crusade to make India a 100 percent hygiene napkin.

Zehtabchi presents us with a series of carefully compiled interviews of men and women, which essentially answer the question of what problems arise when you are born a woman. Women have to go to farmland or travel long distances late in the evening to dispose of used clothing (provisional sanitary napkins). Worse, they have to be ashamed when stray dogs put their clothes on the street.

Since serious problems arise on the surface, a final solution must be found immediately.

We meet characters who are committed to the filmmaker's cause. We get to know Sneha, Rekha, Shabana and other nameless heroes of the film who are entrepreneurial, self-sufficient, smart and empathetic. Here they not only deal with their village, but shout at those who are much taller than them.

The capitalist economy is its goal, one that makes a lot of money selling the second best, only if its product is supported by a multinational company that operates under the guise of women's emancipation. These daredevil women want to market their product and reach others like them so that the community grows and benefits.

The technique with which the director shot the film makes the participating women an important voice in the story. The subject is never placed in front of the camera as long as they speak, unless they want to speak to us directly. In this way, the interviewer gets them to speak freely about sexual health, safe hygiene practices, and their lives.

When aspirations are unaffected by reality, but anchored in it, the only way forward and up is. The film illustrates this belief in the company of stubborn women who unite in shame, joy, love and time.

Period. "End of Penalty" is currently streaming on Netflix and has been nominated for the 91st Academy Awards in the "Short Documentary" category.

Stars: 3.5 / 5

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