Kathmandu: In romantic relationships, there can be problems when it comes to intimacy, especially regarding consent. In many relationships, it can be seen that people take one’s ‘silence’ during intimacy as ‘consent’. Consent, derived from the Latin word ‘consentiere’, meaning to ‘feel together’, is a much deeper word, with a much deeper meaning. In the wake of the seismic #MeToo movement, the word has gained deservedly extra attention, with several works across the literary spectrum devoted to exploring its nature.
A new Nepali short film, “A Good Apology”, also grapples with the notion of consent. The film is based on the concept of playback theater, wherein audience members share their experiences, which, in turn, are enacted by the actors on the stage. The film starts with a lighthearted moment where three actors ‘play back’ the experience of a follically-challenged person.
That short skit quickly gives way to a much deeper subject, the film’s focal issue. A girl shares an incident that took place years back wherein an incipient romance was brewing between her and her male partner. In a short time, her partner was trying to get physical with her, failing to consider her discomfort. He kept on pushing her until the time when that relationship turned out to be a nightmare for her. By coincidence, her partner happens to be tuning into the show airing her experience. How he decides to proceed makes the climax of the film.
The 19-minutes-long movie conveys a message that a survivor who endures coercion at the hands of their partner does not have any fault of their own.
The film, produced by Katha Ghera and directed by Sudam Ck, has its heart in the right place; it raises an important issue to be discussed. The 19-minutes-long movie conveys a message that a survivor who goes through this kind of toxic relationship does not have any faults at their hands. For many survivors, thoughts about being at fault, even though they are the sufferers, are always hovering in their head. This movie has tried to emancipate survivors out of their guilt and remorse. It seems to argue that being uncomfortable with intimacy is not one’s fault.
Although the depiction of this issue could have been done on a much deeper level, the movie has definitely not failed to make people think about their behavior towards their partner.
The only backside of the story is that it could have gone into a bit more detail rather than just end with a predictable finish. For instance, it would have served the film well had it explored in some depth how the survivor would rise up from her despair and nightmares that the incident inflicted on her. By showing her resilience, the film could have even inspired hope in survivors and led the wrongdoers towards ending the vicious cycle of silence. These shortcomings, however, do not cancel the film’s overall message. Needless to say, it’s a genuine message that anyone would benefit by perceiving.