A Rifle and a Bag

A Rifle and a Bag, the documentary by Isabella Rinaldi, Cristina Hanes and Arya Rothe is the portrait of a female character who is finally far from the stereotypes of Indian women. The proud Somi is a former Naxalite guerrilla, a Maoist-inspired rebel group born in the village of Naxalbari in Bengal in 1967, to fight against the blindness of the Indian government. It’s still alive today to protect the rights of the tribes, compromised and discriminated against by the Central State. Somi is no longer formally a guerrilla: she has surrendered.

Together with her husband Pravin, she has left militancy, obtaining from the government a small compensation and an accommodation on the fringes of rural India. Somi has certainly not renounced her ideals, which she passes on to her eldest son. But in the name of her children and a future for them, she had to give up a life of armed struggle. Difficulties are not lacking, starting from the caste structure that hinders the schooling of the descendants of the Naxalites, to the relegated rural life, with few means at their disposal, but rich in dignity and an awareness that turns into a proud daily struggle.

Maria Cera

The Directors

The NoCut collective, behind A Rifle and a Bag, includes the three directors Isabella Rinaldi, Cristina Hanes and Arya Rothe. Presented at the Rotterdam Film Festival in the Bright Future section, shot entirely in rural India, in several temporal steps, A Rifle and a Bag is an intimate and social story capable of capturing the essence of a complex and multifaceted reality, remaining modestly on the sidelines, thus gaining the trust and the complicity of the extraordinary Somi.

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