A Woman Captured
A Woman Captured
A Woman Captured
A Woman Captured

A Woman Captured

Regular price $345.00

"Nightmarish but rewarding for all concerned." – Hollywood Reporter

"This traumatic documentary about a Hungarian woman forced into domestic servitude is an outstanding example of how film-making can make a difference." – The Guardian


  • Sundance Film Festival
  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
  • DocAviv Film Festival
  • Athens International Film Festival *Best Documentary*
  • Sheffield Doc/Fest

A sobering and emotional investigation of modern-day slavery, this Hungarian documentary focuses on one woman’s deplorable situation of domestic servitude and her desire to escape, raising questions about the psychology of abuse and the responsibility of those who witness it.

While oftentimes thought of as a relic of past societies, slavery as an all-too-real experience is flourishing in the 21st century, with 45 million people around the world facing some kind of servitude against their wills.  A Woman Captured focuses on one of the estimated 22,000 cases in Hungary, and offers a glimpse into the life and reality of Marish.  For the past ten years, she has lived as a family’s maid and cook without compensation apart from some coffee, cigarettes, and leftovers, and also been forced to hand over her factory wages (for her daily twelve hours shifts), while enduring both physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her tormentor.  Filmed over a year and a half, the film shows how the filmmaker, with minimal intervention, is able to alter Marish’s mindset and help her escape to a normal life of self-worth and self-determination.

A woman of 53 years of age who looks twenty years older, Marish is revealed through a series of claustrophobic close-ups that plunge the viewer into her caged existence, in which even a trip to the local store might warrant a physical beating.  While her “employer” insults her with comments such as “you’re not worth anything” or “what a miserable woman you are,” she also reveals to the camera that Marish is free to go at any time.  Although there are hints of financial obligations, Marish’s true shackles are psychological and it’s these impediments, stemming from a history of abuse and the resulting lack of self-worth, that force the viewer to contemplate the difficulties of escaping such situations.  At the same time, in her offering of what seems to be merely emotional support for her subject, the filmmaker demonstrates how her simple belief in Marish’s humanity can make a huge difference in her life, which simultaneously raises ethical questions about the purely observational techniques of other documentaries. 

Ending with an almost too-good-to-be-true emotional reconnection of Marish with her estranged daughter, A Woman Captured, amidst its distressing revelations, offers us hope and a path forward for the future.


89 Minutes | Hungarian with English subtitles.

Directed by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter
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