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Barefoot Empress

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Nov 26, 2022

Film Reviews
Barefoot Empress
Directed by:
Vikas Khanna
Written by:
Karthyayani Amma, Sathi Krishnan

A short documentary about a very elderly woman in India who begins school.


This astonishing documentary introduces the audience to Karthyayani Amma, an elderly Indian woman, who did not go to school as a child, grew up in poverty and lived a very difficult life and was finally able to begin education in her mid-nineties thanks to the interference of Sathi Krishnan, an educational instructor.


After an introduction to Amma, during which talks about her rough past, the film goes on to show her beginning her journey into education, going to school with regular students. It is unusual watching someone begin eduaction at such a late age and it is also inspiring to see what people who are so elderly can achieve. Amma pursues her education and through a lot of studying, she succeeds in her goals.


Aside from Amma, the documentary also includes interviews of her daughter Ponnamma and her examiner. There is also news footage that involves protests in India over women's rights.


The film is wonderfully shot and the filmmakers utilise slow motion to great effect and the addition of Omee Ganatra's terrific cinematography makes the images look even better.


Beautiful Indian music is heard throughout and it creates a powerful atmosphere.


This inspirational and dramatic documentary introduces the world to a kind and gentle individual, who manages to get educated at a very late age. Her story proves that it is never too late for people to achieve great things and offers hope and support to viewers. The film also addresses issues regarding women's rights in India and being aware of that makes Amma's triumph even more impressive, because she was able to do what she did in a country where women face inequality.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film, Documentary, World Cinema
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