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Friday, November 20, 2020


8th Balled in the Corner Pocket... (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy The film will feature on the programme of the European Film Festival which runs from November 12 to 22, 2020)

The European Film Festival 2020 has proven quite successful and myriad in their movie selection this year, as I discovered, while watched THE 8th. This documentary, shot in Ireland in 2017, trails the long-trodden path that Irish women walked to finally emancipate their bodies from governing rule, earning the freedom to choose. The reproductive rights debate in Ireland span decades and this poignantly-shot documentary reveals the crusades that have been endured over this vast period.

The documentary is narrated by Ailbhe Smyth as she has been a part of this movement at grass roots since the 1970s. In 1983 the Irish Government made the 8th amendment to the constitution which granted rights to unborn foetuses over that of the mother incubating the unborn child. This right to life had drastic repercussions on women in Ireland with an estimated 3,500 women traveling under rough conditions to legally abort in England. Women had died from severe complications during pregnancies and forced to have the child of their rapist to honour this unjust law.

Directors Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy and Maeve O'Boyle do well to guide the viewer through this mixed batch of opinions and arguments. What stood out for me was the story of the mass grave site that was unearthed which houses hundreds of babies and single mothers, bones dating all the way back to 1924, revealing just how far back these atrocities have been endured and accepted.

I was riled up that in 2017, when most countries in the world had constitutioned women's rights, there were still countries trying to govern a woman's body but the documentary provides an abundantly diverse option scale and I couldn't help but sympathize with the old lady who felt like this freedom conflicted with her inherent cultural beliefs. Whatever the stance, the final majority vote aligns the Irish government with much of the world. The final moments of the documentary are of jubilation and triumphant tears of joy. And the image of Savitha, the young woman who died as she was not allowed to abort her miscarrying, dying foetus in time to save her own life. This youth movement forced the government to repeal the 8th amendment in an attempt to stop these and other rippled atrocities.

This documentary is pertinent in these times when we are embarking on a journey of equitable treatment for all and trying to wipe away the shame of our past actions.

Catch this documentary and other award winning shows at this year's virtual European Film Festival which runs until November 22, 2020. Click on the advert to the right of this article or visit -  Verne Rowin Munsamy