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Women Talking (2022)

A group decision is never easy. Sarah Polley's film, Women Talking, tells the story of women in a small Mennonite community that must decide what to do when heinous crimes are committed against them.

The Mennonites are a group of people that initially arose out of the Anabaptists, a reform movement in the sixteenth century. Like other religious convent and community-based groups, Mennonites live a lifestyle accordant to strict rules: baptism of believers, shunning of the excommunicated, and overall, a life withdrawn from society. Mennonite groups are regarded as tightly-knit, highly disciplined, and until the twentieth century, outcasts from most society. In most cases, religious beliefs, social and familial roles, and the prevailing culture are all wrapped into one; Women Talking shows how one decision unravels the identity of the Mennonite women.

A horrific true crime took place in Bolivia. Men had been systematically drugging and sexually assaulting members of the colony as well as nearby neighbours. Miriam Toews, the author of Woman Talking, the book upon which the film is based, took the story of that true crime and told the story with an emphasis on the Mennonite women. Her goal in doing this was to break down the perception that the Mennonite women were extremists, cultists, freaks, or even societal outcasts. She wanted to convey them as human beings trying to rectify opposing facets of their identity.

The women are ill-equipped: illiterate, isolated, and systematically disenfranchised as a group. Together, they must decide... Should they stay in the colony, their familiar, long-held home? Should they leave and surrender their chance to enter the "kingdom of heaven?" Should they fight the injustices they faced, even if that means a schism in the colony? Should they offer forgiveness? Or, more accurately, how can they after the heinous crimes committed? What parts of their identity take precedence: Mennonite, daughter, wife, woman, or victim?

The programme starts 30 minutes after doors open and the main feature 60 minutes after doors open.

Do nothing, stay and fight, or leave. In 2010, the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith.
Screened with English subtitles.

Doors open:

6:30pm Saturday 28th October


Sarah Polley


104 mins
Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley
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