I chose to view this documentary for my film review.

Half the Sky Documentary

My blog’s name is based entirely on this documentary and when I first heard about the video I knew that I had to watch it. I ordered the video as soon as I could and watched it that night. The film was inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Half the Sky tackles six main issues that women face all around the world which include: Education, Economic Empowerment, Forced Prostitution, Maternal Mortality, Gender-Based Violence, and Sex Trafficking. Ten different countries were visited and six different women celebrities took time out of their lives to help raise awareness of the six issues. In a way, by using celebrities this documentary has gotten a lot of publicity. I first heard about it from Glamour magazine in an article about America Ferrera.

The movie is divided into two parts and is four hours long. Part one features countries such as Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Actress Eva Mendes went with Nick Kristof to Sierra Leone where rape is used a weapon of war. Women report rape, yet none of the rapists ever see any jail time. Once a girl as been raped, she is looked down upon. One girl in particular, I can’t remember her name, was raped by her uncle. Everyone that lived around him knew that he was a rapist and still he lived in the community. Once she was raped her father took her to the local authorities and they arrested the uncle. He was soon out of jail and the girl and her mother were thrown out of there home because the father did not want to be embarrassed by his daughter. In the community’s eyes it was the girl’s fault and they believe she should be the one to face consequences. Eva and Nick try to help by giving their support to the girl and her mother.

Also in Part one, Meg Ryan travels with Nick to Cambodia to visit the Somaly Mam Foundation. Somaly, once a sex slave herself, works  to raid brothels and save young girls from the horrible life of sex trafficking. There is a girl there who’s eye had been gouged out by her pimp because she did not comply with him. Somaly saves many girls and tries to give them a brighter future. She puts her life at risk she she can save others.

Not only are the actresses important in raising awareness, but the women who fight against oppression are important as well. In Sierra Leone, Nicholas and Eva meet with Amie Kandeh, the director of the Gender-Based Violence Program with the International Rescue Committee. Being a victim once herself, she sees the importance of raising awareness on behalf of the young women who are beaten and raped. She also provides counseling to the victims who have been raped of physically abused.