Suzannah Mirghani, Qatar, Sudan 2021
Suzi doll is an ego-warrior. The director’s online avatar, marching to the algorithms of social media. She is lit by temporary outrage. A trending indignation. A passion that is fashion. A politics of the popular. Her activism is abstract. Her help is hypothetical. We know many girls like Suzi, and many times we are her: vacuous virtual voices, echoing injustices.
Written and directed by Rebana Liz John, trains in Mumbai, are like trains from hell. As if they’re the last trains on earth, people jump in through closing doors, while those unable to get in hang onto the doors. Thankfully, one of the cars is for women only.
– – Ladies Only intertwines a variety of different women’s experiences to create a collective story. It’s impressively engaging to listen to these recollections ranging from regret and disappoint, to hopes for the future and refusal to quit. Rebana Liz John takes on a simple but smart style to let all your focus land on each woman, and to create an atmosphere of appreciation and honesty.
Rebecca Cherry, Film Carnage
Ladies Only doesn’t attempt to debate the exclusively female carriages on Indian trains that give it its name. Director Rebana Liz John is more interested in getting to know the wildly varied women who occupy its seats. In a similar vein to vox-popping films like Pasolini’s Love Meetings or Ju Anqi’s There’s A Strong Wind In Beijing, she quizzes passengers on the lives that await them when they disembark, getting their thoughts on idle daughters-in-law, feckless husbands, children, parents, education, marriage and pregnancy.
Sunil Chauhan, Eye for Film
Ladies Only is also available online throughout the festival!