Released in Holland as Gebroken Spiegels, Broken Mirrors is set for the most part in an Amsterdam brothel. Lineke Ripman and Henriette Tol play two whores who begin to rebel against their ...
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During Stalin's reign of terror, Evgenia Ginzburg, a literature professor, was sent to 10 years hard labor in a gulag in Siberia. Having lost everything, and no longer wishing to live, she meets the camp doctor and begins to come back to life.
Shadowed by a strict, military father who inflicts severe methods of punishment as a form of discipline, seventeen year old Ariella commits a grave error that her father isn't willing to ... See full summary »
A complicated love affair between a publisher and a writer. Despite their strong physical attraction, the lovers can only continue to fascinate each other with emotionally exhausting power ... See full summary »
Hilde Van Mieghem,
Ellen Ten Damme
Released in Holland as Gebroken Spiegels, Broken Mirrors is set for the most part in an Amsterdam brothel. Lineke Ripman and Henriette Tol play two whores who begin to rebel against their lot in life. Their story is counterpointed by a subplot involving housewife Edda Barends, who is kidnapped by one of the brothel's customers; as Barends starves to death, her captor takes photographs of her last days on earth. Somehow her demise is meant to be as much a "liberation" as Ripman and Tol's refusal to continue plying their trade. Throughout Broken Mirrors, the male characters are depicted as murderers, both literal and spiritual.
Critics have attempted to undermine the grim intensity of this film by claiming it adopts a "separatist" position: the only sympathetic male character is an old derelict who poses no threat to the women. One could reply that it is equally plausible that the emphasis is intended as a corrective to many films which do not inquire into the gendered nature of violence. Instead, there is a tendency to focus on the "criminal genius" locked in mental combat with heroic authority figures. "Gebroken Spiegels" differs by drawing together the almost ritualised degradation experienced by the main characters who work in a brothel, and the repetitive atrocities of a serial killer. Irrespective of differences in individual circumstance, victims are shown to have been selected for a shared defining feature. The stark realism of the film has an almost documentary feel to it, and should stimulate debate on (feminist) resources of hope in diminished circumstances: one recalls how, in "A Hand Maid's Tale", (female) sociologists and other thinkers preferred to work as exotic entertainers for an elite who liked savouring the decadent pleasures forbidden to the "masses". Critical thought would be more tolerated in these circumstances than outside, if only as a kind of forbidden "exotic fruit". "GS" offers a different, although related context, which could also be usefully compared to "Female Perversions" and Lizzie Borden's revolutionary "Born in Flames."
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