Some films aren’t meant for enjoying…
SOLD is an uncomfortable watch. A 13-year-old girl is repeatedly raped and as the viewer, we have to sit back and witness it, glancing away from the screen because at times it’s too difficult to fathom, or perhaps taking brief looks while shuffling in our seats trying hard to focus on something else, just to get through the movie.
The film is based on a novel of the same name by Patricia McCormick. It centres on a young Nepali girl who is sold by her father unknowingly to a brothel in India. She is taken here against her will, beaten, tortured and raped until she finally escapes.
As the opening film to this year’s London Indian Film Festival it brought a sense of ‘realism’ to the auditorium – this wasn’t an escapist fantasy – but a real life nightmare.
An estimated 20,000 children are trafficked from Nepal every year, a figure that is rising. It is not an issue exclusive to the country, but a form of human slavery that exists all over the world; a subject that Director Jeffrey Brown aims to raise awareness about through his debut film.
There is little respite, just a few moments of joy when the children of the brothel are given brief opportunities to be kids such as flying kites and dropping waterbombs on unsuspecting passers by made from condoms – but there’s no ‘happy ending’ to look forward to. Life for these women is depicted just as it is in reality – difficult, desperate, depressing…all the negatives you can think of.
Who is this film for? It doesn’t exist to ‘entertain’ or make viewers come out and think ‘I loved that film’ – it serves a different purpose. One that we often overlook in filmmaking. It has the power to change things. SOLD will make you reassess your own situation, spark discussion and raise awareness. It may even give hope to the women around the world who are in this situation as there are plans to screen it in schools, colleges and centres to educate people. At the very least it will give you an insight into a world you will never experience – something it does with passion and sensitivity.
SOLD takes a while to digest but it’s a film that is bold, brave and necessary: something you can't say about the majority of movies that are churned out of Hollywood and Bollywood.
Sold has two screenings at the London Indian Film Festival – both of which are sold out. There are currently no dates for national release however you can find out more about the issues raised on the Childreach International website and follow and use the hashtag #TaughtNotTrafficked to keep up to date with the campaign to stop child trafficking.