Beautifully filmed, Bernadett Tuza-Ritter exposes a dark reality happening behind many closed doors in Hungary and around the world: modern day slavery. In the form of one woman’s story, she has transferred it to the big screen for everyone to see.
A WOMAN CAPTURED is a shocking film to watch. It follows Marish as she works twelve-hour shifts in a factory and carries out menial tasks around the home of a woman called Eta. Slowly, Marish comes to realise that she must escape, but it’s not that easy. Her issues are not recognised by authorities, with local domestic abuse charities unwilling to help.
Throughout the documentary, there is a focus on the hands and face, with close-ups of both. The former puts emphasis on the tasks that Marish does: cooking food, clearing the table and so on. When there are shots of just Marish’s hands, the image is striking- we realise how much work they have done, and how much they have been through. The latter shows the deep lines in Marish’s face, demonstrating how much she has aged while being in servitude.
The editing is a noticeable feature in this documentary. The shots are cut so that the audience sees task after task, mimicking the never-ending work that Marish is assigned to do, along with the barrage of insults that Eta spits out. One distinctive scene is when the camera is pointed at Marish’s reflection in a train window. A foggy, plain landscape of fields speeds past and then the camera pans so that we see Marish falling asleep. The next shot is of Eta’s hands with her nails painted in a garish orange colour, eating breakfast in her fluffy pink dressing gown. The two images couldn’t be more different- the visual contrast representing Marish’s reality in the household.
Bernadett Tuza-Ritter has told Marish’s story with a highly aesthetic and artistic approach. She has told it with compassion and allowed Marish to be seen as a human being, rather than a slave.
A WOMAN CAPTURED is a hard documentary to watch in places, but is crucial in getting people to realise that slavery is continuing, and is happening in homes across the globe.