#MenAreTrash, the documentary

2017-11-26 07:21
 
The People vs Patriarchy

Johannesburg - The media screening in Joburg this week of MTV’s new documentary The People vs Patriarchy was a night to remember.

A follow-up to The People vs The Rainbow Nation doccie, which was also directed by young film maker Lebogang Rasethaba, this film is just as incendiary, dealing frankly with gendered violence in South Africa, and it sets out to respond to the #MenAreTrash hashtag.

Once again, the director – along with producer Jasmyn Asvat – took a group of outspoken young people and filmed them as they explored the issue among themselves.

Some of those featured in the film include musician and Inxeba star Nakhane, playwright and author Phumlani Pikoli, transgender activist Glow Makali and 2017 Aspen New Voices Fellow Koketso Moeti.

The film opens with a montage of videos of violence against women that have gone viral this past year.

There’s a trigger warning for a reason – the scenes are upsetting and difficult to watch.

It sets the tone for a film that quite thoroughly probes the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.

These are all seen as symptoms of toxic masculinity, misogyny and patriarchy.

Unfortunately, it starts feeling a bit repetitive and like an echo chamber of people saying the right things.

There is only one dissenting voice in the film – a guy who doesn’t believe he is trash.

The film makers immediately label him “Mr But”.

“Balancing voices is probably one of the hardest things to get right when you’re making a film like this one,” Rasethaba said.

“It’s about managing how much of the dissenting voice you include in a way that it doesn’t drown out the bigger message you want to make.”

The value of The People vs Patriarchy will be revealed when those with access to DStv and MTV see it.

Lack of dissenting voices or not, the film is still a powerful, well-shot and incredibly well edited call to action against the systemic violence of our toxic patriarchy.

The documentary premieres on MTV (DStv channel 130) on November 29 at 9.15pm during the global initiative 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

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