Because We Are Girls is the kind of documentary that grips you to your core, and leaves you feeling different than you did walking in.
This examination of an Indian family — and the cultural bindings that failed the young girls under their parents care — is both a microscopic study of the ills of Hindu culture compared to 2018 Canada, and a devastating tale of sexual assault and the failure of parents to stop it.
In a world where women are treated as less than and this Indo-Canadian family in B.C. had three girls and a boy, it becomes evident the men in the family — patriarch, brother, and even a sexually deviant cousin — are to be treated with the utmost respect. They are above reproach.
So when three sisters begin their journey to have their older relative prosecuted for sexual assault, their parents focus on the shame it brings to the family, and not on the pain the daughters feel internally.
There are so many layers and sides to Baljit Sangra’s documentary, with father and mother struggling between doing the right thing for their young girls, and the easy thing, and with women trying to break the cycle of indifference toward girls in their culture.
This is a searing documentary, one about loyalty, protection, and the need to throw one’s value system to the wind when it no longer makes sense in actual practice.
This strong group of women are truly brave, and this documentary is one of the crowning achievements of this year’s FIN fest.