“I am who I am because of her,” – begins the narration of the short film Preetha's Poem – the trailer for the recently released, four-part Netflix documentary, Daughters of Destiny.
The New York Times describes the film as “a celebration of a pioneering school for the children of Dalits, members of the lowest group in the oppressive caste system that still shapes Indian society.”
“Preetha’s Poem” features a glimpse of this struggle as the author of the poem and one of the documentary’s protagonists, a girl named Preetha, describes the pain and struggle in and throughout her and her mother’s lives.
“I come from the dull brown of my mother’s eyes watching over me while my eyes see darkness,
Her warmth throwing me back into reality.”
The stop motion visual accompaniment for the poem is just as eloquent and equally touching as the words themselves. It features the central characters in the poem – Preetha and her mother – as well as several sets, all of which are beautifully crafted from paper painted with watercolors.
“I come from the love of my mother’s stayed long embrace.
I am the answer for her pain that increases the lines etched upon her face.
These lines that spill her sufferings out during her troubled restless nights.
One day I will wipe away the waterfall of hopelessness and replace it with a river of hope and salvation.”
The aesthetic of the whole film is that of a watercolor painting, swimming with light browns, rich shades of orange, black, and aquatic blues: Preetha starts out surrounded by these blues until she and her mother embrace. The sky then turns to orange, red, yellow, and then dissipates, revealing their village, detailed with palm trees, dirt ground and simple huts.
The stop motion visuals serve the poem and it’s tone brilliantly, adding another layer of heartfelt beauty to Preetha’s poem.
“One day I will show the world I am that girl who shoots bullets into the sky and makes doorways of freedom, hope and relief. Not only for my mother, but for all those out there who are in need.”
The film is currently available to stream on Netflix. Preetha's Poem can be seen below (if you are reading this on the blog) or you can go watch it here.