The movie

Writing with Fire

By the time this opens at Cinecitta, we’ll know if members of the Academy have honoured this excellent and much-needed documentary with the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards on Monday, March 28 (it should!).

Length: 94 min
Country: India
Language spoken: Hindi
Language subtitles: Nederlands
Cast:
Director: Sushmit Ghosh
Release date: 2021

Description

By the time this opens at Cinecitta, we’ll know if members of the Academy have honoured this excellent and much-needed documentary with the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards on Monday, March 28 (it should!). Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas spent four years following the all-women team of journalists at the Khabar Lahariya news organization in Uttar Pradesh—a 200-million strong Indian state notorious for its mistreatment of women—as the group transitions from print to digital distribution. Both the micro—the women’s sometimes-difficult home lives—and the macro—the critical issue of social media’s role in the rise of both grassroots journalism and right-wing populist politics—are given evocative and singularly clear expression here.

‘[A] rousing documentary… Thomas and Ghosh focus on arcs of resistance rather than repression, tracing how, as Khabar Lahariya’s YouTube channel rapidly gains followers, its stories achieve real results: a neglected town receives medical attention; a rapist is prosecuted… And at a time when the profession faces increasing dangers in India, the film’s faith in the powers of grassroots journalism is nothing short of galvanizing.’—Devika Girish, The New York Times

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