Beatriz’s War, co-written by Irim Tolentino

a nutshell: Timor-Leste’s historic first feature film tells an immensely powerful story of one woman’s infatigable courage during the Indonesian occupation – co-written (and acted!) by Irim Tolentino, whose short stories and poems have yet to be translated from Tetun into English…

a line: “When I close my eyes I see only the past, the horrors of those days. Let me become blind to that, to see the world as it could be.”

an image: in one very moving scene, the women of a village gather where Indonesian soldiers killed their husbands, fathers and sons one year after their murder to collect the bones, pay their respects to the dead, and end their mourning; they shed their grief and remove their black garments to reveal vibrant clothes below

a thought: I spoke to Tolentino as part of my work for the International Women’s Development Agency and wanted to share a thought from her, rather than me: “As women of Timor-Leste, we’ve been looking for more chances to explore and express our thoughts and talents. Until now, many of us struggled to keep these things alive. Music, arts, film and poetry have less attention and support in our society although the demand is there.”

a fact: Tolentino told me that she submitted a story about friendship and loss to a writing competition (‘Istoria Timor’, or ‘Story of Timor’) based on diary extracts; she later designed a cover and arranged for printing, but the story was never published – here’s hoping we someday get to read her writing in English

want to watch Beatriz’s War? visit here

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