Bollywood flick tackles India’s rape culture
The extraordinarily brutal gang-rape of a young Indian student on Dec. 12, 2012, in a suburb of New Delhi has inspired a Bollywood movie titled Kill the Rapist?, slated for release exactly one year after the fatal incident. Shot on a low budget and deploying a largely unknown cast, the film revolves around three female flat-mates, one of whom becomes the victim of a rape attack. Although the actual crime is never shown, the movie explores what the girl in question goes through physically and mentally, and how her situation also affects her flat-mates.
The story covers a 12-hour-period following the crime, during which the three girls discuss how to deal with the attacker, each of them offering different perspectives on the available options. “At some point the hunter [rapist] becomes the hunted, as power shifts to the victim, who devises ways together with her two friends to act out her revenge,” said producer Siddharta Jain of iRock Films. While the movie intends to unsettle—even shock—the audience, the producer insisted that it is not meant to piggyback on the public outrage that gripped India in the wake of the original, real-life crime, but instead “amplify the debate on the issue and show that there is no simple, single solution [to the problem of rampant rape cases in India].”
Echoing Jain’s position, the movie’s director Sanjay Chhel said: “We have intentionally used a question mark at the end of the title, because we do not want to preach [to the audience] or take a legal stand [on how convicted rapists should be punished].” Yet the film’s Facebook page, which at press time has notched up well over 40,000 “likes,” invites visitors to “join the ‘Kill the Rapist’ Movement” and states that the film aims at wanting to make “every rapist shiver with fear before even thinking of rape.”
During the original crime, a gang of six day laborers assaulted a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a bus, not only taking turns in molesting her but also inserting a heated steel rod into her genitals, while the young woman’s boyfriend was restrained and forced to watch helplessly. The victim died of internal injuries two weeks later. The incident triggered angry protests across India and highlighted the fact that rapes are reported almost daily in the media, as women are still widely regarded by a large proportion of the male population as “free-for-all prey.” While four of the rapists in October were sentenced to death, the other two received life sentences. The public outpouring also prompted legislators to toughen India’s rape laws.
Russian War Drama Sweeps China B.O.
Russia-produced war drama Stalingrad has managed to achieve one of the highest opening-weekend box-office takings ever for a non-American foreign movie in China. Released on Nov. 1, the film earned almost RMB40 million ($6.5 mil.) during its first weekend, representing an astonishing 19% of total earnings nationwide during that same time period. It comfortably outscored another Russian production, August Eighth, which raked in only RMB10.3 million during its first three days of release in October. Screened in both 3D and IMAX 3D, Stalingrad deals with Soviet Russia’s traumatic experience during the brutal 1942 assault on the title’s strategically important city on the Volga river by German forces, which after much suffering on both sides eventually ended in an utter defeat for the Nazis. Stalingrad also has been entered as a contender in the foreign-language category at next year’s Academy Awards.
China Media Body Reports 35% B.O. Growth
China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), the country’s media-governing body, announced that total box-office revenue for the first three-quarters of 2013 has grown almost 35% year-on-year to RMB16.4 billion ($2.7 bil.). However, foreign films fared relatively badly, earning only RMB6.87 billion during that period, effectively representing a decline of 5.2% year-on-year. The top five foreign movies—three of which were only released in the third quarter—were, in descending order: Iron Man 3 (RMB751 mil.), Pacific Rim (RMB693 mil.), Fast and Furious 6 (RMB412 mil.), The Croods (RMB394.8 mil.), and Man of Steel (RMB394.6 mil.). Domestic films continued to clearly dominate the box office with a market share of around 58%, grossing RMB9.56 billion. ($1.57 bil.) during the first nine months of 2013, a growth of remarkable 93.8% year-on-year. Industry insiders predict that this trend is very likely to persist, as production values of Chinese films continue to improve and the country’s audiences are developing a sense of pride in local movies. The figures posted by SAPPRFT also further cement China’s status as the world’s second-largest film market after the United States. According to SAPPRFT figures, half of the top ten grossing films released in the first three quarters of the year were produced domestically: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (RMB1.24 bil.), So Young (RMB715 mil.), American Dreams in China (RMB538 mil.), Finding Mr. Right (RMB518 mil.) and Tiny Times Part 1 (RMB488 mil.).
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