"Inescapable in revealing the despicable violence suffered by women and children in our country." – Clarín [Argentina]
"A valuable, forceful and, yes, necessary record to make one of the principal social ills visible in all its dimensions." – La Nación [Argentina]
- Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema
- Havana Film Festival
This stark Argentinian documentary focuses in on the issue of domestic and gender-based violence, and the meticulous and unending work of a laudable social program to protect victims of abuse.
Argentina's Victims Against Violence program is staffed by 240 professionals reachable by the country's emergency line for domestic and gender-based violence, Line 137. These social workers and psychologists, most of whom are women, work around the clock in teams dispatched to intervene directly in conflicts involving sexist, sexual and intra-family violence in Buenos Aires, Resistencia, Posadas, and just a few other cities. In the country overall, a woman is killed every 30 hours in an incident of gender-based violence.
Although underfunded in relation to the prevalence of the problem, this social program offers assistance to victims, and encourages them to use available judicial and social processes to escape the cycle of abuse and victimization. Indeed its name, Victims Against Violence, signals the existence of victims who they work with to make active toward finding solutions to the violence they've suffered.
Line 137 embeds itself within several of this organization's teams as they work cases. It holds its focus on the teams and their reactions to each unique situation, respecting the victims to tell their harrowing stories just outside the frame or with their faces obscured. The fear of retaliation is a common theme, and the teams do their best to work discreetly. They cover a spectrum of situations. One day they are interacting with a mother trying to protect her children from an abusive father, the next they are dealing with a parent covering up for a grandfather molesting his granddaughter. In certain cases, accompanied by undercover police officers, they end up interacting with the aggressors, who are sometimes armed. The sense that these interactions are just the tip of an iceberg is hard to shake. And all too often, the victims are late in identifying violence perpetrated by their domestic partners, recognizing it only after being beaten repeatedly.
Immersed in the middle of these interactions, the film captures how some abusive situations are all-consuming vortexes, very difficult to escape from. And although set within the particular cultural context of Argentina, their common-place realities call to mind a widespread global problem. The World Health Organizations estimates that one of every three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.
82 Minutes | Spanish with English subtitles.
Directed by Lucía Vassallo
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