Sydney 2012: Day 9 Trailer of the Day - THE WORLD BEFORE HER

Contributing Writer; Sydney, Australia (@HugoOzman)
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Sydney 2012: Day 9 Trailer of the Day - THE WORLD BEFORE HER

The World Before Her.jpgToday's Sydney Film Fest trailer of the day is The World Before Her, a fascinating look at the new and old worlds of India.

About the film: The dramatic juxtaposition at the heart of this absorbing film is between two institutions: the Miss India pageant and Durga Vahini, the women's arm of the Hindu fundamentalist movement. The competitors in the nation's premiere beauty pageant are plucked, Botoxed and trained to strut the catwalk. They all want to win and change their lives by securing film contracts or modelling deals. In contrast, the thousands of young girls attending Durga Vahini's annual camp are taught how to be good Hindu women: "It's shameful to be judged by hips, breasts and legs." The camp leader, Prachi, wants a career in the movement against the objections of her parents, who feel that at 24 she should be married with children. The two themes graphically illustrate the dramatic differences between old and new India and the limited opportunities for women in either. The World Before Her won Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and Best Canadian Feature at Hot Docs.

Embedded below is the trailer.

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More about The World Before Her

SourabhJune 14, 2012 11:34 AM

Given that I haven't seen the documentary, I am curious why does the documentary makers think women in India have very limited oppurtunity? Is that the theme of the documentary? Hugo have you seen it? I will like to point out that the President of India (though incompetent is a women). Several states have Chief Ministers who are women. There are women in Indian Space program working as lead. All this can be googled for fact check. Many women go to medical school. I am aghast at this shallow documentary (I am going with the trailer) getting awards. Basically the choice is to be Hindu zealot (per the documentary) or be modern by getting objectified. I don't see anything wrong with women competing in Beauty contests if that is the choice they are making. But I find it objectionable to imply that Indian women are living in a restricted culture in the like of Saudi Arabia or even an Amish country.

Oh, I see the cow was shown in the middle of the busy road - sign of lazy film making. I will like to watch the documentary when it does come out or is available in US.

Joe YoungJune 14, 2012 3:50 PM

I would like to watch see if the filmmakers manage to capture the compexiteies of Indian society.

Hugo OzmanJune 15, 2012 5:38 PM

Thank you for your comments, Sourabh. I have seen the documentary, and here's a link to my review:

The documentary gives insight into the lives of 2 groups of women living in India, and based on what is shown, it certainly gives me the impression that it is a struggle for them to get the opportunities to achieve what they want. I don't think the filmmakers have necessarily passed any judgement on either group, but rather present them to demonstrate a strong contrast and illustrate how the Indian society is changing.
Both the documentary and the information you have provided are interesting for someone like me who actually don't know a lot about the Indian society, and I am glad to hear that many women in India do get the opportunities to have great achievements.

Hugo OzmanJune 15, 2012 5:41 PM


I think the filmmakers have certainly managed to capture some of the complexities of the Indian society, but believe it is much, much more complex that any documentary (even a series) can portray.

Joe YoungJune 18, 2012 3:01 PM

Yeah...I understand what you mean but since Sourabh Guptac seemed worried about film being too shallow.....I was hoping that wasn´t the case.

And yes, life is complex enough fro one documentary to handle.