HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG (2022, doc)

July 1, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. He’s not an easy man to figure out. His many written and spoken words can be challenging to interpret, and his art comes in many forms: poems, novels, drawings, and songs. Leonard Cohen was an enigma, yet also a treasure trove of thought-provoking work crafted over fifty years. Collaborators for more than 25 years, documentarians Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine knew tackling Cohen as a subject would be too much, so by taking inspiration from Alan Light’s book, “The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of ‘Hallelujah’”, they were able to approach him through his most recognizable and most oft-covered song, “Hallelujah.” The result is a captivating two hours that will appeal to Leonard Cohen devotees and enlighten those new to his work.

We open on December 21, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. Leonard Cohen is on stage and sings the immediately recognizable first “secret chord” line of “Hallelujah.” This would be his final live performance. Someone offers the description of LC as “a spiritual seeker”, and that appears to have been the case most of his life. Perhaps there is no better evidence of this than his pursuit of writing lyrics to “Hallelujah.” We see the dozens of notebooks filled with his handwritten lyrics. We know there are multiple versions of the song, and Leonard admits the song was never finished … it was ever-evolving, same as the writer. Although Cohen passed away in 2016 and was not interviewed for this film, precious archival footage allows us to see him expressing his own thoughts alongside new and recorded interviews of those who knew him for so long.

The great Judy Collins tells of the time she encouraged Leonard to come on stage and sing his song “Suzanne” with her. It was 1966 and though to that point, he had been mostly a poet, he now immersed himself and his words into songwriting. In regards to his poetry, so many believe one must suffer to have anything of value to say; however, Leonard was born into a wealthy family, and he created reems of meaningful passages as a deep thinker and observer. Other terrific interviews come courtesy of music journalist “Ratso” Sloman (who also shared tapes of his own Leonard interviews with the filmmakers), long time back-up singer and co-writer Sharon Robinson, Cohen’s former girlfriend and renowned photographer Dominique Isserman, lifelong friend and fellow Canadian Nancy Bacal, Canadian journalist and lifelong friend Adrienne Clarkson, and John Lissauer who first produced “Hallelujah” and also composed the score to this documentary.

The song itself took a journey worth exploring. Leonard initially worked on the lyrics for years. Once the song was recorded, it (and the entire album, ‘Various Positions’) was rejected by Columbia, the record label that had already paid for it. The album and song were finally released on a small independent label. Ultimately, Bob Dylan began performing the song in concert, and it was gradually adopted by other artists, and reached mainstream status when it was included in the animated hit movie, SHREK. How is that for an unusual journey for a song?

Even the SHREK saga wasn’t straightforward. Rather than use Cohen’s version of the song, the director chose the version sung by Rufus Wainwright, but then decided it didn’t fit, and shifted to the John Cale version. As a final twist, it’s Wainwright’s version on the released movie soundtrack. It’s not just the lyrics that have multiple versions. As of last count, more than 200 artists have their own version, with those of John Cale and Jeff Buckley being the most frequently listened to. Both get their due in this documentary, and it’s quite moving to compare the different approaches … one’s mood must be the determining factor on which fits the moment, as it’s impossible to say one is “better” than the other. We also hear from other artists who testify to the song’s personal importance to them. And to reinforce the point of how the song has become part of the fabric of society, there is a montage of TV contestants singing their version in hopes of moving on to the next stage.

Although the filmmakers use “Hallelujah” as the structural force for this film, they expertly weave in Leonard Cohen’s personal history throughout. They remind us that his early song “Suzanne” was written well before he met and married Suzanne Elrod. We hear a bit from the cringe-inducing partnership with producer Phil Spector for one album. The filmmakers highlight Cohen’s 1993 decision to isolate at the Mount Baldy Zen Center through 1999, before returning ‘back down the hill’ to write more songs. It was in 2005 when Cohen discovered that his long time manager had bilked him out of his earnings and assets. This sent Leonard back on tour for the first time in 15 years … he performed 379 shows over 5 years, thrilling his fans and introducing many new ones to his music.

There have been other documents focusing on Leonard Cohen, most notably, LEONARD COHEN: I’M YOUR MAN (2005), and MARIANNE & LEONARD: WORDS OF LOVE (2019). Both have their merits, yet neither capture the remarkable story of this ‘spiritual seeker’ as thoroughly as this one. He was an unusual and remarkable man who wrote, “I did my best. It wasn’t much.” Maybe the only false words he ever penned.

Opens in theaters beginning July 1, 2022

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BITTERBRUSH (2022, doc)

June 16, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. The work of director Emelie Mahdavian and cinematographers Derek Howard and Alejandro Mejio make this one worth watching if only for the wide panoramic views and stunning landscapes of the wild west in today’s America. However, the views are really the bonus, as the focus is on Colie Moline and Hollyn Patterson, two cattle wranglers working together on a job in Idaho.

Colie and Hollyn have partnered on jobs for ‘around’ 5 years, though neither is sure how long it’s been. Some will be surprised that two women have become so proficient at herding cattle – a job that has traditionally been the domain of men, the cowboys we are accustomed to. Make no mistake, Colie and Hollyn are real cowboys (cowpersons?) and they are experts at managing cattle, horses, dogs, the terrain, the weather, and the solitude.

We ride along with them through Idaho, though at times, we feel like intruders. Colie and Hollyn enjoy the life, have an efficient partnership, and have grown to be friends despite their differences. Hollyn is moving towards a more traditional life (out of necessity), while Colie dreams of having her own ranch. This seasonal work is for 4 months and covers late spring, summer heat, and early snow. They are truly hired hands, and one extended sequence finds Colie working to break a horse. It recalls the 2011 documentary, BUCK, on horse whisperer Buck Brannaman, but here there is no audience and no ‘show’. It’s just a hired hand putting in the work.

Neither have a “real home”, which becomes a factor as spreading the ashes of a beloved dog constitutes a challenge. Being away from family during special events and illness is part of the job, as well as part of the conversation. Director Mahdavian utilizes expertly played and beautiful Bach piano music as accompaniment, but we can’t help but feel this is cheating. Why should we hear this when the two women doing the work only hear the sounds of nature? Their toughness and resilience are quite something to behold.

In theaters on June 17, 2022 and On Demand beginning June 24, 2022

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DEEP IN THE HEART: A TEXAS WILDLIFE STORY (2022, doc)

June 2, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. It’s easy to see why this film was selected for opening night at this year’s EARTHX Film Festival. Ben Masters’ feature length documentary is filled with historical information, geographic differentiations, a timeline of human impact, and some of the most stunning wildlife photography we have ever seen … and that includes any productions from Disney Nature and National Geographic. And if that weren’t enough, the film leaves us with a lesson on the importance of wildlife and nature conservation.

Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey narrates the film, and as a native Texan, his drawl and pacing are in perfect sync with what we see as filmmaker Masters guides us through the various areas of Texas. The opening segment from the high plains of the Panhandle focuses on the history of bison, and how hunting had dwindled the once massive numbers to the point where only five (5, not 500 or 5000) remained. Remarkable conservation efforts have resulted in bison now once again roaming the plains in packs. It’s a majestic sight.

Time is spent on White Tail Deer, and it’s a trip to the south Texas brush country that provides one of the most fascinating segments. Sightings of the “near mythical” Ocelots are rare, but here we follow a mother and cub. These gorgeous creatures are photographed up close and in their natural habitat. Despite only a few remaining in the species, we get to see them hunt and prowl. It’s quite a treat. Texas wildlife is the focus here, but when the film shifts to the Hill Country, it’s water that takes center stage. The state rivers, creeks, and aquifers are highlighted and how, just like many other states, severe drought has had a direct impact on wildlife in Texas.

After glimpsing the awe-inspiring views of the Bracken Cave bats, the film takes us to Big Bend country where the top predator roams – the Mountain Lion. By this point, we’ve learned about the Guadalupe Bass (the Texas state fish) and the piney woods and wetlands of east Texas, so we head to the Gulf and witness an array of colorful birds, and learn of the wildlife swimming the depths of the ocean around and through the coral reefs not far offshore.

The visuals here are truly stunning thanks to the innovative work of Director of Photography, Skip Hobbie and a large team of cinematographers. Some of the shots of Ocelots and Mountain Lions leave us gasping, ‘how’d they do that?’ As beautiful as the film is to look at, it never strays far from the message that humans have the ability to destroy, conserve, and recover wildlife. Examples of each are provided, and that’s what sets the film apart from so many nature docs that simply preach. Ben Masters takes a different approach – he shows us the bad that has occurred, the good that helped, and how conserving is a never-ending project, but one that is well worth the effort.

Opens in Texas theaters on Friday, June 3, 2022

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TAKE ME TO THE RIVER: NEW ORLEANS (2022, doc)

May 20, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. Most anyone who enjoys various types of music has at least some basic knowledge of the New Orleans music scene. The film’s director is music producer Martin Shore, who also directed TAKE ME TO THE RIVER, a 2014 documentary on Stax Records and the Memphis music scene. Shore mostly sticks to the same format here by blending the past generation with the new, while mixing in tidbits of history from the area.

Narrator John Goodman opens by attributing the uniqueness of New Orleans to the convergence of cultures from Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa. Our first studio sequence pairs up the great Irma Thomas with Ledisi, two powerful singers. Including a clip of young Irma with Dick Clark on “American Bandstand” in 1964 was a terrific lead-in to the duet, and this segment also features the amazing bass work and musical instincts of George Porter Jr. This is also when Shore directs the conversation to passing the musical torch from one generation to the next.

Shore hits multiple recording studios around town, and exposes us to many local and influential musicians. The segments come and go very quickly, which is somehow both the film’s strength and weakness. We get a taste of many, but a full serving of few. Multiple New Orleans drummers take us through the tradition, as does the Dirty Dozen Brass band. Congo Square and Preservation Hall are visited and discussed briefly, though most of the screen time is spent with collaborators in studio. One of the best is the jam with Ani DiFranco and “Wolfman” Washington.

Many styles of music have roots in New Orleans, including: Jazz, R&B, funk, zydeco, and even gospel and rap. Shore gives us almost nothing, or at least very little, on such key players as Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, and the Marsalis family; yet, he covers The Meters and has a nice tribute to Allen Toussaint. The rap session is probably a bit too long, and focuses on Manny Fresh, G-Eazy, and Snoop Dogg. Two highlights of the film are one of Dr. John’s final recording sessions of “Jock-A-Mo” (the Iko Iko song), and the amazing recording session after the reunion of the Neville family (extra special considering the recent losses).

During this year’s SXSW I watched the documentary, JAZZ FEST: A NEW ORLEANS STORY. That film focused on the festival itself and what it has meant to music and the city. For this film, Mr. Shore touches on Mardi Gras Indians, The Wild Tchoupitoulas, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which cost the city many of its local musicians. One of those in the film mentions that in New Orleans “we look back to go forward”, and that respect for history and roots of the music being played is crucial for the next generation.

Opens in theaters on May 20, 2022

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HOLD YOUR FIRE (2022, doc)

May 20, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. Common sense tells us that attempting to resolve conflict by talking through the issue is far superior to jumping right into violence or other extreme measures. Of course we all know that common sense doesn’t always win, and it certainly didn’t in 1973 when four young Black Muslims attempted to steal guns from a Brooklyn store called John & Al Sports. It’s been 50 years since the incident, but director Stefan Forbes allows some of the key players to give their perspective and recount the unfolding of events.

It was not a good plan. In fact, it was barely a plan at all. Shu’aib Raheem was 23 years old and living in fear in his own community. Cops were slow to respond to calls in his neighborhood, so he wanted protection for himself, his family, and his friends. He was joined by fellow twenty-somethings Dawud Rahman, Salih Abdullah, and Mussidia in waltzing into the store and loading a bag with guns. We know this because Raheem is one of the many interesting interviews conducted. We hear from others including police officers that were on the scene that night, the owner of the store, Raheem’s cohort Dawud Rahman, and hostages that were detained. This event became the longest hostage situation in New York City history.

It’s the hostage element that brings us to one of the most important developments of the event. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and looking back, the hero was a Jewish intellectual named Harvey Schlossberg. Harvey passed away after giving his interview for the film, and he is the man credited with starting hostage negotiations, and was later instrumental in the capture of Son of Sam. It’s inconceivable to think one of the first responses from the cops was to fire into the front of the store despite knowing full well hostages were present. Raheem recalls never even being offered a chance to safely surrender.

Surely one of the things that will stand out to anyone watching this is the blatant racism expressed by the cops all these years later. They admit to assuming the four burglars were part of the Black Liberation Army, and proceeded accordingly. However, these four were really average locals with jobs and families, looking for a way to feel safe. This division between the cops and the neighborhood locals was clearly an issue, and seems all too familiar even today. This is not to defend the criminal act of these four men, but it does highlight how law enforcement can escalate, rather than de-escalate a situation. These four deserved to go to jail, but the actions of the police force dragged the situation out, further endangering the hostages.

Thanks to Schlossberg’s approach, this standoff became known as ‘the birthplace of hostage negotiation.’ He spearheaded the advancement of training for conflict resolution and de-escalation. This was a significant cultural shift within the New York Police Department, and the cops we hear from (some with disturbing views on race) make that very clear. One of the interviewed (former) officers says, “we over-define racism as something bad.” I re-played this part to make sure I heard it correctly, and then paused it to try and understand.

This was a chaotic scene and when it was over, one cop had been killed. Director Forbes has accumulated an impressive array of archival footage and photos to go with the insightful interviews. It’s fascinating to hear the conflicting recollections, but it seems clear that aggressive action was not the best strategy in this case. At times this feels similar to DOG DAY AFTERNOON, but the images are real, not dramatized. We can only hope training continues and law enforcement consistently reacts in a way to de-escalate criminal situations whenever possible. The stress is indescribable, but the reward for talking before shooting can often be saved lives.

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STU’S SHOW (2022, doc)

May 12, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. We tend to pay little attention to historians and archivists until we need them. By then, their importance cannot be overstated. If you know the name Stuart Shostak, it’s likely you assume this documentary from CJ Wallis will be about Stu’s internet talk show and his commitment to preserving ‘classic’ TV shows. If that’s your assumption, you will be partially correct, but also in for quite a surprise. Much of the film is dedicated to Stu’s personal life … a life that sets a strong example on how to hustle and how to care for loved ones in need.

“Stu’s Show” serves as both the title of this documentary and the title of Mr. Shostak’s internet talk show where the format involves interviewing those who were involved in television during the 1950s through the 1980s. Stu is a staunch believer that these folks (many of whom the industry has long ago forgotten) deserve to tell their stories, and we benefit from hearing them. Stu himself takes us on the tour of his studio and warehouse, both of which are located in his home. He points out shelf after shelf of archival footage in a variety of formats – from film to digital. This is no casual collection. Rather it’s 50-plus years of work from the man who served as the personal archivist for none other than Lucille Ball over the last 10 years of her life.

Stu walks us through the early days of how he started working as a ticket hawker/procurer for TV shows – the guy responsible for making sure the audience seats were filled (this was in the days when many shows were filmed in front of a live studio audience). He then worked as the warm-up act ahead of filming episodes for shows like “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Silver Spoons”, prior to his affiliation with the legendary Lucy on her final TV series. All of this is documented through clips and interviews from those that were there. Many of the recollections focus on Stu’s personality. “Exuberant” and “enthusiastic” are often used to describe him, and it seems what appealed to Lucy was his willingness to hustle after what he wanted (a trait they shared).

Classic TV lovers will appreciate Stu’s dedication to keeping the past alive; however, it’s the second half of the film that gives us the real reason to respect him as a person. After Lucy died in 1989, Stu co-founded a “Loving Lucy” convention, and one of the most loyal attendees was Jeanine Kasun. Stu and Jeanine shared a love of classic TV and would quote dialogue back and forth, thus establishing a bond that was quite special. For many years, the two were very close, though choosing to live apart in recognition of their individual quirks. But things changed quickly when Jeanine suffered a brain aneurism and was rushed to the hospital with her life in danger. Despite an extended coma and being written off as soon-to-die, Jeanine hung in. Equally impressive is how Stu became her advocate. He turned his penchant for excitable talking into ensuring that his beloved Jeanine received the treatment she needed, in spite of the challenges faced by her situation and the state of the healthcare system.

Most of us have experienced some frustration and a swell of emotion when visiting a loved one in the hospital. But Stu rallied friends and the stream of visiting celebrities surely did not go unnoticed by hospital personnel. Jeanine’s recovery was a slow process involving multiple hospitals and caregivers, and Stu spent as much time with her as possible. Bookending the film is video from their wedding … a ceremony with the look of a classic TV reunion attended by many of the celebrities Stu had interviewed over the years, including Tony Dow (Wally in “Leave it to Beaver”) as the Best Man. You may recognize many of the faces interviewed here, but you’ll surely recognize the love Stu showed for Jeanine.

Available On Demand beginning May 2, 2022

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POLAR BEAR (2022, doc)

April 23, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. After filming their award-winning documentary PENGUINS (2019) in Antarctica, co-directors Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson re-teamed and headed to Norway, not far from the North Pole, to capture life and the fight for survival by polar bears in this feature for Disneynature.

As we would expect, the adult polar bears are majestic and powerful, while the cubs are just about the cutest things on the planet. Also, as we have come to expect from Disneynature, the photography is stunning in its clarity and ability to take our breath away. Unfortunately, much of the story here is focused on climate change and its impact on these creatures. Filmed over years, we follow a mother “ice bear” after her two cubs are born. We watch as the mother first hunts for food and later trains her cubs. Seals are the preferred dish of the day, but seals have become harder to find due to the warming waters and reduced ice.

Three other segments feature Baluga whales, walruses, and an incredible few minutes of birds flocking along the side of a steep cliff. A dead whale gives us a look at the fearsome male polar bears and their intimidating force over females and cubs. Disneynature doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities and mortal danger faced by polar bears, as we witness both death and separation … though, as the circle of life indicates, these are offset with new birth and arrivals.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, CAPOTE) uses her distinctive voice to capture the wonder of the bears and their harsh environment, as well as the overall challenges occurring due to climate change. We are informed that the Arctic circle could be ‘ice-free’ by 2040, which means the polar bears must adapt quickly or face the dire consequences. Hopefully it’s clear that this is not one of the warm and fuzzy Disney docs that many of us grew up on, and therefore, not for the youngest kids (no matter how much they love polar bears).

Premieres on Earth Day (April 22, 2022) on Disney +

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UNTIL THE WHEELS COME OFF (2022, doc)

April 15, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness.  Who among us doesn’t enjoy a nice, leisurely bike road around the neighborhood? Taking in the fresh air while getting a little exercise is good for the mind, body, and soul. While golf has been described as “a good walk spoiled”, after watching this documentary, I believe it’s safe to say that the Race Across America (RAAM) is “a good ride spoiled.” RAAM is an ultra-endurance bicycle race that begins in Oceanside, California and winds across the continent to the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland.

For those counting, that’s 3071 laborious and tortuous miles pedaling through desert, mountains, plains, and just about all types of weather. And if that’s not enough, most of the ride is on open road where the danger of automobile and truck traffic is usually present. Oh, and riders get very little sleep, must meet certain markers within a given timeline to stay eligible, and require a full team to help prevent death, injury, starvation, dehydration, or insanity. To put this in perspective, we are told a rider would need to average 10.5 mph for 12 days riding 24 hours per day. While that is obviously unsustainable for humans, you should know that those who finish, typically do so in 8-12 days, while riding 20+ hours per day. That, my friends, is why they call it ultra-endurance.

Those are the details to know about the race itself, but this is really the story of one man and his crew. John Tarlton’s daughter kicks things off by explaining that “my dad” finished the RAAM in 2014 and is preparing to go again for 2019 (the basis for this project). We learn only about 300 riders have ever finished the race, and Mr. Tarlton explains that he will be much better prepared this time, with a goal of winning his age 50-59 bracket. Joining his crew this time will be his wife Jeanne, and their kids … turning this into a true family experience (or nightmare, depending on your perspective).

Climbers go up Everest “because it’s there”, and clearly this is just another way to push one’s mind and body to the extreme … an extreme most of us will never experience ourselves, especially after watching the pain endured by Tarlton and his family. If you’ve watched a loved one suffer with an illness, you know how difficult it can be. What about a loved one who chooses to suffer? His family is there as his body slowly deteriorates and his tired mind becomes muddled. In addition, we witness some of the tension and drama as it unfolds within his crew – something that obviously doesn’t help in these circumstances. In fact, the only downside here is that Tarlton’s wife (the film’s producer) pushes a bit too hard on her own story, rather than the guy pushing through exhaustion and pain.

Tarlton rides to raise money for the Stanford Cancer Institute, though we are never quite sure how the fundraising is handled. This is definitely not a cheap hobby, nor is it one for the masses. You are either the type that wants to push your body, mind, and finances to the limit, or you’re not. Described here as “a defining life experience”, it’s a race where the clock never stops and the scenery is unparalleled (though riders are likely too groggy to appreciate it). Don’t confuse this race with the Tour de France (stages over 3 weeks) or this movie with the HBO documentary, TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF.

Available on VOD

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COW (2022, doc)

April 8, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. Farming and ranching are about two main things: commerce and sourcing food and other items (wool, leather, cotton, etc). Director Andrea Arnold won an Oscar for her short film WASP (2003), and also directed a couple of narratives that I’ve seen, WUTHERING HEIGHTS (2011) and AMERICAN HONEY (2016). Her first feature documentary takes us to a dairy farm in rural England, and closely follows the daily life of the cows on the farm.

We open with the birth of a calf and the instant bonding with its mother, Luma. Then, as we’ve seen in other documentaries, the two are separated and we clearly see the anxiety this creates in the bovines. But this is a working dairy farm and cows exist for two reasons: to produce milk and to have babies. Ms. Arnold wisely keeps the focus on the cows, and the human workers are rarely seen or heard. It’s not a pleasant existence for the cows. They spend time being milked by a metallic contraption or being impregnated by a local bull. Denied connection with their offspring, the cows seem to be allowed very little time to frolic or graze in the fields.

Cinematographer Magda Kowalczyk does get some creative shots, but there are a few times the closeness of the camera to the cows gives us a feeling of temporary motion sickness. We are also bounced between mother and calf quite often, and we ‘feel’ the mother’s bellowing as she longs for her baby. The point is made that cows have feelings, especially as related to their offspring, but some of the attempts to drive that home stretch credulity a bit too far. Also responsible for a slight dulling of the film’s impact is that it arrives so closely to last year’s artistic masterpiece, GUNDA (2021) from Viktor Kosakovskiy, though director Arnold wins for the most abrupt ending (for us and the cow).

In theaters and On Demand beginning April 8, 2022

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SURVIVING SEX TRAFFICKING (2022, doc)

March 24, 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. Director, Jain monk, war veteran, and sexual abuse survivor Sadhvi Siddhali Shree follows up her 2017 documentary, STOPPING TRAFFIC: THE MOVEMENT TO END SEX-TRAFFICKING, with a focus on the rare survivors/escapees of the horrific global issue labeled sex trafficking. The initial statistics she provides state 45 million are trafficked each year, and only about 1% ever escape or are rescued. We learn this “industry” generates approximately $150 billion (with a b) in annual profit.

The film allows five victims to bravely tell their story, concentrating not just on the ordeal they survived, but also what has happened since. Their stories are about healing and recovery, and we hear from three women in the United States, one from Ethiopia, and one from India. Their stories are different, yet they share the similarities of being forced into a tragic and dark underworld.

The women are often asked, “Why didn’t you just leave?”, and their answers revolve around such things as fear, shame, and violence. Threats against themselves and their families were commonplace. One of the survivors defines Sex Trafficking as ‘sex for money through force, fraud, and coercion.” Another revisits the condo where she was violently attacked for wanting to leave. She re-enacts that night and we see photographic evidence of the brutal beating she endured.

Director Shree tells the details of her sexual abuse at age 6, and we learn the target age for traffickers can be 12 to 17. With their pain often invisible on the outside, the women discuss what they have done while attempting to rebuild some semblance of a “normal” life – always looking over their shoulder and living with the memories. Two key points emerge and those are opening more shelters for victims and training law enforcement on how best to treat those who have been sex trafficked … contrasting from runaways, for example. Therapy is obviously crucial, and what is most important is keeping discussions going so that, for as long as sex-trafficking exists, we are addressing the prevention, the rescue, and the treatment of victims.

In limited theaters on March 25, 2022 and on VOD beginning April 15, 2022

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