There and Back, a short documentary made on Documentary School, recently had its world premiere at the London Feminist Film Festival. Director, Trish Kelly, attended and took part in a panel discussion afterwards. The film was very well received and below is one review by journalist Georgie Bea Edkins.
There and Back tells of the trauma felt by director, Trish Kelly as she recounts her experience of sexual assault.
It is difficult to write an objective review of this piece. When a soul is laid so bare, as in this film, human compassion seems to override camera quality, angles, underlying meaning and that oh-so-watchful eye for mistakes.
The film begins in an empty counselling centre in Ireland. Trish begins to tell her story; her voice is loaded with hard-to-conceal emotion and, like a riverbank about to burst, the frail wobble in her voice is touching yet encouraging. The audience want to support her.
The slight home-video camera effect when Trish is telling her story to camera is grounding. This is stone cold reality; a reality in which the clock tick-tocks in the background, each second of living, a torment, a regret that she hadn’t let him kill her. Her shattered life was too much a responsibility for her to bear. This is not just Trish’s reality, but also so many women’s reality across the globe, and yet each story is just as horrifying, just as impacting, and just as abhorrent.
What is film? It’s a visual portrayal of human experience in one form or another. Following a short documentary course, Trish must’ve known that her story didn’t need cinematic excellence, it just needed to be told, which in itself must’ve been an incredibly cathartic experience.
The film’s title “There and Back” is reassuring. Once Trish has told her story she discusses the benefit she’s felt from counselling against a backdrop of images from nature. Such natural images have a Keatsian quality, proving that our human essence is harmonized with nature.
This is a film that needs to be shown everywhere; women’s’ refuges, schools, high schools and workplaces. This is a story worth sharing, to show women that although that memory may never leave, the feelings that that memory conjures can be diluted with the right help. This is a remarkable, honest and important film, and I recommend it to all women and men alike.