SIFF 2013: Salma *1/2

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 25, 2013)

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Salma (from UK director Kim Longinotto) profiles a Tamil poet named Salma (now 45) who spent her first 25 years sequestered at home. Her family was adhering to a strict “unwritten law” forbidding pubescent girls from venturing outside the house (even to attend school) until they are married off. Longinotto documents Salma as she visits her family for the first time in years; she points out the tiny window that provided her sole portal to the outside world. She found ways to smuggle her early work out of the house, eventually becoming renowned throughout India. While its subject is compelling, it pains me to say that the film, while obviously meant to inspire, is flat and dull, with virtually no poetry in its soul.

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