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Crushed Wings

UK / India / Nepal 2021
produced by
Lalit Bhusal for Cam Buddha Films
directed by Lalit Bhusal
starring Oznur Cifci, Tania Staite, Rosina Bhusal, Nisaro Karim, Bhasker Patel, Hibo Wardere, Jetinder Summan, Sabina Gopali, Goma Pandey, Parikshit Bickram Rana, Lisa Blissitt, Nomana Rose Yusuf Khwaja, Kamal Devkota, Mansoor Zahid, Pradeep Dhakal, Roshni Bhandari, Late Kul Chandra Puri, Kewal Singh, Abiha Sharma, Vimal Kropal, Sharda, Anshu GC, Tee Morris, Moe Bilal, Gillian Grace, Baburam Ghimre, Rusma Bhusal
written by Lalit Bhusal, music by Juanjo Molina

review by
Mike Haberfelner

As a seven year old, Ria (Rosina Bhusal) still thought she was a fairy, which is why she always wore wings when she went out - but then her parents took her to undergo ritualistic genital mutilation, as was custom in their village, and it was also a trauma from which Ria failed to recover, so when about ten years later her little sister Naila (Roshni Bhandhari) was to undergo the same ritual, Ria (now played by Oznur Cifci) tried to save her - but to little avail, other than that her parents suddenly saw it best to marry her off to Raja (Nisaro Karim) as she has turned out to be a little bit of a troublemaker. Now Raja seems to be a good catch at first, what with him living in the UK with his family. Only, he and his family - other than his father Masood (Bhasker Patel) treat Ria less than a wife/daughter-in-law and more like a lowly housekeeper. Plus, Raja's no more than a small-fry drugdealer, and he insists on having sex with her every day, even though it hurts her like hell as her genital mutilation was done by an unqualified cutter. Then Ria learns that she's pregnant, and this alone elevates her status in her family ever so slightly, and she also uses the pregnancy as a smokescreen to secretly start studying in community college, where he has made friends with one of the teachers, Emma (Tania Staite). Eventually though, Ria gets into a fight with Raja, and he pushes her down the stairs, seriously injuring her and making her lose her baby - which he then sees as excuse enough to throw her out. Fortunately, Ria can find abode with Emma, who upon learning about Ria's genital mutilation sees to it that they are both educated about the subject, ultimately giving Ria the strength to try to divorce her husband, and try to save her youngest sister from the same fate that she and Naila had to undergo. Thing is, even if Raja has kicked her out, he's not one to let her go that easily, and how's Ria to change a centuries-old tradition from afar?


Now there's no doubt in my mind regarding the importance of this film's message, but what makes Crushed Wings more than just a mere message movie is that it doesn't just focus on female genital mutilation as such but paints a bigger picture, one that puts things into context - while doing a great job to neither neglect nor overemphasize on the religious connection, so much so that Ria gets the final push in the right direction from an imam who explains to her the Qran's stand on (or rather against) genital mutilation. And a direction that's both subtle enough to not bring the message home via sledgehammer and dynamic enough to keep one glued to the screen throughout helps making this film totally worth watching.


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