When Salma was 13, her parents took her out of school and locked her away in a room with a single window. After 9 years she gave in to pressure to agree to an arranged marriage and was released from her house arrest into another kind of prison, in the home of her new husband's family.
Throughout her desperate years of confinement, Salma poured out her anguish writing poetry, which she sneaked out of the house, eventually getting a notebook into the hands of an enthusiastic publisher. Against the odds, Salma became one of the best known Tamil poets and her newfound fame helped her start on the path to freedom.
Following Salma on a trip back to her village, renowned British director Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian Style, 1998; Sisters in Law, 2005; Rough Aunties, 2008) paints a nuanced portrait of an extraordinary, resilient woman. 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.
The film is a wonderful documentary that typically shows us a window to the world rarely shown, and in light of the recent rape trials in India it is imperative that this continued marginalisation of women in Islamic culture is addressed and change is brought about with equality for all. Salma is one of those campaigners hoping for this change, change your cinema going habits and go see this vital film document from one of Britain's best documentarians.
Kim Longintto is renowned for films that highlight the plight of female victims of oppression or discrimination; her editor and long-time collaborator, Ollie Huddleston, will join us for a Q&A after the film.
SALMA+ Q&A with editor Ollie Huddleston
Thursday 26th September| Rich Mix Cinema |8pm | £7 (£5 conc)
A trailer can be viewed here