Tales of Rape: Bandit Queen (1995) + India’s Daughter (2014)

April 9, 2015 | By

There’s really no headline that can subdue the impact of the central subject in the two films reviewed this week: Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen (1995), new on Blu from Twilight Time; and Leslee Udwin’s documentary India’s Daughter (2014), which has yet to receive a commercial DVD release but has appeared on TV and is archived on YouTube and is distributed by Women Make Movies in America.

BanditQueen_BRBased on the biographical work by Mala Sen, Bandit Queen chronicles the life of Phoolan Devi, a gang leader initially convicted and jailed for murdering several village men in retribution for a gang rape, but released a decade later, after which the folk heroine was assassinated in 2001 at the age of 37.

IndiasDaughter_titleIndia’s Daughter is the controversial hour-long BBC documentary on the gang rape and murder of an Indian medical student. Udwin’s film was banned in India soon after transcripts and video extracts from one of the convicted rapists appeared in news reports. Sentenced to death, the convicted bus driver shows absolutely no remorse, yet his comments are one of several contrasting views which reveal the complexities of a case that Udwin infers isn’t likely to be the first and last of its kind.

Both stories are emotional horror shows but powerful works leaving the viewer rattled, provoked, and outraged at truly despicable acts of violence.

Coming next: April Wright’s lively and poignant documentary Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie (2013).




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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