“The Poison Thorn” revolves around the narratives of three rape survivors of the Bangladesh Liberation war of 1971. Their voices have been resurrected from the agony of silence. This film witnesses the expression of the collective trauma of war and its effects on women. As the pain and `stigma’ of rape kept haunting them long after liberation, they felt that even though the war had ended, another one had begun in their personal lives. Women who fought and survived rape are still struggling to gain a respectable existence in society. They are Birangonas–War heroines– yet they have to fight everyday for social approval. Ranjita Mandal blames patriarchy; Halima Khatun accuses the state, Rama Choudhury negates the idea of violence. They speak to break a silence after 43 long years and through their voices a new part of Bangladesh’s history and identity comes into light.
“The Poison Thorn” is a historical document. It counters monolithic nationalist history that people are often forced to accept.
Farzana Boby, a 33 year old Bangadeshi filmmaker learnt the trade through on-the-job-training since no institutional programme of studies existed when she began. In 2005, she was the first woman to choose a career as a camera person in a private television channel, which she combined with working as a video journalist. She left her job in 2008 and has worked as a freelance videographer since. She researched and directed “Bish Kanta” (The Poison Thorn, 2015), worked as cinematographer and editor in “Gostholila” (2014), worked on a documentary on the legendary mystic Fakir Lalon Shah, created video installations- “Archiving Savar Memory”, “Journey to the Great”, “No Block window”. She was Assistant Director for the full length feature film “Meherjaan” (2011); has co-directed two documentaries, “Shajshilpi “(2004), and “Phulbarir Shat Deen” (2008). She was cameraperson for “A Tower of Promise” (2008), and cinematographer for “Our Own Space” (2007). A scriptwriter of two documentaries, Boby is also a poet who writes prose occasionally. She was active in left politics while a student at Dhaka University. She is a founder member of Chobir Lorai, a non-profit organisation of activist filmmakers. She lives between Khulna and Dhaka, with her daughter.
Ashraful Alom, Farzana Boby
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