Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Man Who Mends Women (orig. L'Homme qui répare les femmes) [2015]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (4 stars)

IMDb listing
Allocine.fr listing*
CinEuropa.org listing

Black Star News review
DiaNova.org review
MoviesThatMatter.nl review
Opportunity Lives (C. LeBon) review
Critikat.com (A. Leysens) review*
La Croix (M. Soyeux) review
Le Monde () review*
TF1 (J. Faure) review*

The Man Who Mends Women (orig. L'Homme qui répare les femmes) [2015] [IMDb] [AC.fr]*[CEu] (directed and cowritten by Thierry Michel [IMDb] [AC.fr]*[CEu] along with Colette Braeckman [IMDb] [CEu]) is an excellent BELGIAN, CONGOLESE, AMERICAN documentary about the celebrated, three times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and EU's Sakharov Prize winning Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and his multifaceted work with (and advocacy on behalf of) the rape victims of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and especially along its eastern border with Rwanda.  The film played as part of the 14th Annual Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival hosted recently by Facets Multimedia in Chicago and its American distributor is ArtMattan which cosponsors the festival.

Over the last several decades, it has become increasingly clear that sexual violence against women conducted in the context of war needs to be classified as a War Crime.   This documentary along with another entitled The Uncondemned [2015] certainly make the point.  (Earlier, the drama directed by Angelina Jolie, In the Land of Blood and Honey [2011] advocated for the same point).

The physical, social and psychic damage inflicted on women (and children) by war-time rape, often gang rape, is simply horrendous.  The film, if often remaining clinical in its description of the physical damage caused by such rape to both women and girls, leaves no doubt that the victims are often mutilated in shockingly awful ways that prevent them from _ever_ leading normal lives afterwards.  There is also the obvious shame that such victimization brings to its victims even though it's clearly not their fault.  Finally, there are the necessary _years of coping_ -- often largely alone, without much help of family members who themselves often feel ashamed, in good part, because they proved unable or unwilling to risk their own lives to prevent the suffering inflicted on their loved ones -- with the most intimate / fundamental of life-altering physical injuries that one simply did not / could not possibly have deserved. 

Viewers are introduced to the remarkably holistic program that the good Dr. Dennis Mukwege has been able to put together (with lots of Western help) for these women, from: (1) using the services of volunteer western doctors to physically repair in as much as that is possible, the _physical damage_ that had been inflicted on the rape victims, (2) offering "boarding school"-like "recovery centers" to the rape victims, where TOGETHER with other rape victims they are slowly able to come to terms with their injuries / attendant psychic scars AND GET TRAINED IN SKILLS that would allow them to leave these centers with the capacity to live _independent_ lives (again _a lot_ of these women and girls have been abandoned by their families); to finally (3) advocacy for trials of perpetrators of rape so that at least some semblance of justice is done AND (4) advocacy targeted toward the male members of society to encourage them to stand-up (again together) against the armed perpetrators of rape so as to better defend the women/girls of their families. 

Viewers will certainly be impressed with what Dr. Mukwege, the son of a Pentacostalist Minister, has been able to accomplish.  And while it's clear that he's done this motivated by his Christian faith it's obvious that he's far more interested simply fixing / mending broken lives rather than "making converts." Besides it becomes pretty clear that most of the people in this part of the Congo, victims, perpetrators and bystanders are already (at least nominally...) Christian anyway.   Hence the language of his faith is as motivation for his actions appears to be clearly comprehensible to all he serves. 

It all makes for one excellent documentary about someone that Viewers deserve to know about and indeed support.  Great job!

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser. 

 << NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here?  If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation.  To donate just CLICK HERE.  Thank you! :-) >>

No comments:

Post a Comment