Synopsis"What makes you angry?" asks the filmmaker. A small film crew enters the ladies compartments of the local trains in Mumbai. Chance encounters and acquaintances are invited to reveal their opinions, their confessions and their stories in a 'public' space. Their diverse answers thread themselves into an unfolding tapestry of details and observations. The light on the faces, the figures in the background, the driving noises of the train and the interactions between the travelers bring the space alive. Black and white images distill the essence of the space. A poetic rhythm takes us across Mumbai and its mix of cultures, languages and faces, providing insight into how urban Indian women see and shape their lives.
Poems: Kamla Bhasin
Music: Jin Jim, Johann May, Daniel Manrique Smith, Nico Stallman, Neu Klang, Act Music, Lucas Pizzini
72 BERLINALE Jury:
"The Compass-Perspektive-Award goes to Ladies Only, a raw, honest film that concentrates on the essentials, truly standing out with its decisiveness and clarity of form. A crowd of people push their way through the narrow door of a train compartment, and for 80 minutes a transitional location becomes intimate theatre, in which we get to know various women. Filmmaker Rebana Liz John asks questions about existential issues such as freedom, family and career, and we obtain personal insights into the lives of the protagonists. She has different generations read a poem out loud and comment on it, interrelating their differing points of view. Interview moments alternate with quietly observed situations. The montage creates visible emphasis and contrasts, and takes a firm standpoint. As a result, the public space of the train compartment becomes an intimate space. Numerous situations and times of day are interwoven, and the finely crafted sound design generates continuity and tension. It takes courage to tell such a reduced story, to take a close look and to produce a socially relevant film from everyday life".