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Rough Aunties

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
Globe-hopping British documentarian Kim Longinotto is often pegged as a feminist filmmaker since the subjects of her astute and observant movies (‘Divorce Iranian Style’, ‘Sisters in Law’) tend to be women. Yet these strong-willed and feisty females are rarely her sole focus, as they’re often lines of enquiry that let her consider questions about trends, attitudes and injustices across all of society. ‘Rough Aunties’ fits that bill precisely, the title referring to the all-female membership of an aid organisation called Bobbi Bear based in Durban, South Africa. Their dismal yet vital workload includes coming to the rescue of poor children who have suffered abuse – a symptom, the director suggests, of the gaping wealth chasm.

Longinotto’s camera offers an unflinching gaze, a machine of record that she wields with a palpable sense of empathy and despair. The events she films are mostly appalling: abandoned babies with scars of repeated rape; girls suffering from sexual abuse within the home; there’s even a point at which a relative of one of the team is shot and killed in front of his children. She’s interested in language too, and how gender influences communication. Sure, it’s a tough, unappealing topic, and Longinotto does let the philanthropic spirit of these women get the better of her in some gooey final scenes. But their resilience is infectious and this caustic document of their daily grind (and boy, is it a grind) makes for cinema that is at once reflective, poignant, unsettling and dismaying.
Written by David Jenkins

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 16 July 2010
  • Duration:103 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Kim Longinotto
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