A documentary with style. Although, here I would use the word "documentary" loosely. Director Anna Broinowski chooses to make this work more of an artistic experience, than a rigid objective news piece. I like it. The irony is that she's exploring whether or not her subject (Norma Khouri) had done the same thing with her international bestselling book "Forbidden Love" (a supposed true story on honor killing in the Middle East).
Anna draws expressive, fascinating, impassioned responses from her interviewees and often paints them into a surreal background using tasteful cinematic special effects. Normally, I feel special effects in documentaries is a no-no, but Anna seems happy to let this work be something less factual than a doc, while at the same time, less fiction than a drama. Faction -- the word is spoken by participants.
It's a compelling story with a deathly serious topic, treated in a near sideshow manner. I like it. Audiences will certainly get wrapped up in trying to decipher what exactly is truth and what is lie. But in the end, the doc seems to enjoy not making this completely obvious, almost as if, that was never its point. Oddly, in an entertaining way, Norma's claimed main goal, is achieved -- awareness of an important human rights issue is heightened.
This film prompted an extended interesting discussion. One of many missing pieces: I would have liked Anna to confirm or deny the existence of husband John's criminal record.
-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --