Hanaa (2017) describes the life and destiny of four young women around the world and how through myths, superstitions and beliefs patriarchal will is imposed on them.
In the opening sequences of Guiseppe Carrieri’s film we sweep along a broad Indian river while observing a boat with a girl dressed in a bright red sari. Soon words from the Talmud, the Jewish book of holy law, appear: «God counts the tears of women» and we are left in little doubt about the subject matter to come in Hanaa.
A timely contribution to the #MeToo debate that has convulsed American and European politics in the past year, Carrrieri’s film ties the stories of the lives of four young women around the world in India, Nigeria, Peru and Syria. They all share the same or similar name, but their differing experiences of gender discrimination vary.
The destiny of four women
«Religion comes before rationality,» the Indian girl says, quoting her grandmother. Superstition governs her life; a red flower that brought luck to her mother did not save her from her destiny – dead at an early age, as shown graphically in the film.
«Myths, superstitions, beliefs: the ways a patriarchal society imposes its will on young women.»
A Nigerian girl called Hana (the film’s title spelling reflects the slight variations in the names of its subjects) recalls her experiences at the hands of Islamic extremists, where she was renamed Selma and where every third girl died.
In Peru, Ana recalls the love she experienced with a young man until he disappeared when she fell pregnant. Her family accused her of being a whore and kicked her out of her home in a poor barrio. Now she walks the streets and sells her body to support her infant child, counting the seconds to ward off her fears of assault and robbery.