Elevate Difference

Reviews by Toni Francis

Toni Francis

Born in Cape Town, South Africa and currently residing in Toronto, Toni Francis graduated from York University, Toronto with an Honours BA in Communications and International Development with a specialisation in gender and political economy. She recently returned to York U to complete her MA in Women Studies, with a research focus on development communications and its capacity to empower marginalised women. Toni has previously worked as a research assistant, a public education and outreach worker, a canvasser for an environmental organisation and an ESL teacher. Her interests include writing (obviously), lots of reading, blogging, working out and learning new languages (currently Spanish).

Threads of Hope

I have to admit to watching this film with much trepidation. Too many films and documentaries are dedicated to analyzing the poor state of women’s lives in the developing world, but few dedicate their focus to researching and explicating the systemic inequalities rooted in patriarchy, that exist to reinforce women’s conditions. However, while watching I was determined to keep an open mind and value the work and perspective of a young woman of color, endeavoring to make a difference in the world by documenting women’s lives in Kolkata, India.

Shirley Adams

Interlacing themes of poverty and perseverance in the Cape Flats area of post-Apartheid South Africa, Oliver Hermanus explores the relationship between a mother, Shirley, and her quadriplegic son, Donovan, as he slips into depression after having been shot in his neighbourhood. Having given up her job to care for her son, and having been abandoned by her husband, Shirley struggles to support Donovan’s mental and physical well-being and at the same time take care of herself.

Sins of the Mother

Will we eventually be accountable for the decisions we made in the past? This is essentially the idea that Murray explores throughout her book Sins of the Mother. Through the use of multiple first-person narratives, Murray follows the actions and reactions of her characters after the young daughter of her protagonist and converted sinner, Jasmine Bush, is kidnapped.