Stellah thinks marriage will bring her joy. She is wrong! It turns out to be her source of pain and grief. Her partner is everything but ideal. Robert is a source of both psychological and physical pain he constantly beats her.
And when she turns to her mother for advice, she is shocked at her reaction. Her mother instead blames Stellah for not ‘understanding’ the man’s needs. At 28, she finds herself in a catch 22 situation– the pressure to get married to the man that batters her or lose him in the name of a more meaningful life.
The trade-off sees her degenerate into a constant state of fear. She risks losing her friends who cannot stomach her ordeal should they discover the many wounds she has been hiding so as not to attract attention to a relationship she has been flaunting as perfect.
‘Bed of thorns’ is just the perfect title for the movie motivated by the thematic concerns around Gender Based Violence (GBV). It is worth your time thanks to convincing acting by the female-led cast.
It premiered on Saturday at Century Cinema, in Kampala. Radio presenter and actress Malaika Nyanzi leads the cast and embraces the role of an abused young corporate woman who is torn between the hard choice of appeasing her mother by staying in a physically abusive relationship or leaving her man. This forms the building block of the plot.
When she initially breaks the silence and tells her mother (played by Sarah Kisauzi) about her painful ordeal, she is indifferent. To her, marital beating is no cause for alarm.
Her daughter needs to ‘understand’ her man and appease him in any way possible. This casts the spotlight on tradition where some cultural norms perpetuate submissiveness and undermine women’s rights and status.
Stellah is cautious about turning to her friends for relationship remedies because each of them has their share of pain. One was date–raped, another is in a psychologically torturous marriage and another is heartbroken on learning the man she trusted with her heart is married.
The movie director and producer, Eleanor Nabwiso, uses her work to reach out to women who are enduring GBV, to speak out and be heard. It is food for thought to ask if it is really worth staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of the children or if separation and actual divorce are suitable options when the abuse becomes habitual.
Credit is in order for the delivery on camera work which was handled by Racheal Mambo and Isabella Kabeera. The editing was also well done as it tightened the story well enough to communicate, capitalizing on good dialogue and on-screen interaction that is packaged with good doses of humour.
The sound engineer also did a good job to condense it, making it audible both for internal and external locations. ‘Bed of Thorns’ is a generally commendable work worth more cinema scheduling.