Kim Longinotto | Salma

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"Salma," for all its celebration of a life lived against the grain, has a sweet strain of melancholy that resonates, and suggests the story isn't over."
Variety (read full review)

"... Kim Longinotto showcased a beautiful and tragic film about Tamil poet Salma. As a film critic... it's very rare that something can resonate and leave me in an overwrought state of fulfillment like this film did....I was left impassioned; I wanted to know more about this exceptional woman."
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When Salma, a young Muslim girl in a south Indian village, was 13 years old, her family locked her up for 25 years, forbidding her to study and forcing her into marriage. During that time, words were Salma's salvation. She began covertly composing poems on scraps of paper and, through an intricate system, was able to sneak them out of the house, eventually getting them into the hands of a publisher. Against the odds, Salma became the most famous Tamil poet: the first step to discovering her own freedom and challenging the traditions and code of conduct in her village.

As with her other work (Pink Saris, Rough Aunties), master documentarian Kim Longinotto trains her camera on an iconoclastic woman. Salma's extraordinary story is one of courage and resilience, and Longinotto follows her on an eye-opening trip back to her village. Salma has hopes for a different life for the next generation of girls, but as she witnesses, familial ties run deep, and change happens very slowly.


Filmmaker Biography

Longinotto studied camera and directing at England's National Film School, where she made PRIDE OF PLACE, a critical look at her boarding school, and THEATRE GIRLS, documenting a hostel for homeless women.

Her first film in Japan was EAT THE KIMONO, about the controversial feminist performer Hanayagi Genshu; HIDDEN FACES, the internationally acclaimed, documentary about Egyptian women followed, then THE GOOD WIFE OF TOKYO which explores women, love and marriage in Japanese society. Next Longinotto directed DREAM GIRLS, a BBC-produced documentary of the spectacular Japanese musical theatre company, the Tararazuka revue; and SHINJUKU BOYS, about three Tokyo women who live as men. Next, she made ROCK WIVES for Channel 4 about the wives and girlfriends of rock stars, followed by DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, set in a Family law court in Tehran about women and divorce in Iran. She then made two short films for the BEST FRIENDS series on Channel 4: STEVE & DAVE - about two friends who work as a drag act and ROB & CHRIS about two homeless young men. Then GAEA GIRLS about a young girl’s struggle to become a professional wrestler. RUNAWAY is set in a refuge for girls in Tehran. Her film THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET, about young girls in Kenya challenging the tradition of female circumcision premiered domestically at Sundance in 2003. Her next film SISTERS IN LAW, set in Kumba, Cameroon, premiered and won two prizes at Cannes. After that, HOLD ME TIGHT, LET ME GO was set in an Oxford school for disturbed children. The next film, ROUGH AUNTIES is about a group of brave women based in Durban, South Africa. PINK SARIS set in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India followed. Her latest film, SALMA, is set in Tamil Nadu, India.