Filmmaker Deepa Mehta tries to understand what makes a rapist in her new film

Deepa Mehta on how she examined the life of the six men who raped and killed Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi through her new film Anatomy of Violence.
Director Deepa Mehta

"I really wanted to humanize them," says Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta of the six men who gang raped and killed Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi 4 years ago. Mehta's new film Anatomy of Violence examines one of India's most notorious crimes and tries to understand what makes a rapist.

"It became very clear that a really large reason is the complicity of society in the making of a rapist. Inequality of gender, patriarchal system, cultures, poverty, misogyny, they all contribute to a climate that makes it ok for guys to actually exert their power and commit brutality and violence towards women," says Mehta. Humanizing them doesn't excuse what they did, but it helps start a conversation about why these things happen explains Mehta. "If I just dismissed them as monsters they become the other," and that separates them from us, ending the conversation.

Director Deepa Mehta and Tom Power in studio q. (Olivia Pasquarelli)

Mehta's film uses improvisation rather than scripted content. "The film itself and the act itself and what happened was so brutal that I wanted it to be as organic as possible," says Mehta on her choice to forgo lighting, makeup, music and a script. Further, there isn't much known about the rapist, so that's a reason why the dialogue was improvised. Mehta used the few details she had as loose framework to develop the conversations. 

Mehta says Anatomy of Violence represents "where we are at this point our our lives." There is an awareness of violence against women and a need for society to step up and end this. Mehta says the film is timely given the current cultural climate and "perhaps it wouldn't even have been possible 10 years ago, but it was now."

WEB EXTRA | Watch the trailer for Anatomy of Violence below.


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