Elisa Paloschi’s portrait of an Indian woman’s dreams of independence made its debut at Raindance last year. Screenings followed at IDFA, Hot Springs Doc, United Nations Association, Mumbai, Margaret Mead, Thessaloniki Doc, Movies That Matter, Documentary Edge, and Bentonville, among other events.
Selvi was essentially sold by her brother into marriage as a child and suffered abuse at the hands of her older husband, who forced her into prostitution. She eventually escaped, finding her way to a group home where she learned how to drive. Eventually, she parlays this skill into a career, becoming the first female taxi driver in southern India. Paloschi follows the appealing Selvi for the better part of a decade, as she turns her life around, supports herself, and finds happiness. While there’s some roughness technically, given the longitudinal approach taken, the film successfully captures a sense of unexpected but genuine hopefulness in the face of grim reality and a traumatic past.