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Invoking Justice

Directed by Deepa Dhanraj

CinemAsia / India / 2012 / Documentary / 85 mins / English, Tamil with English subtitles / Color / Digibeta NTSC / San Francisco Premiere


“No, we will not, cannot remain silent. I will not, for I have been so for all these years. So let us now talk back.”

Defiantly eschewing Western portraits of the subjugated Muslim woman, Deepa Dhanraj (Something Like a War) explores the way women in Tamil Nadu, South India are challenging tradition to demand equality and justice in their communities. Sharia law is deftly woven into the folds of civil law under the hands of the local Jamaat, an all-male council who upholds Islamic customs and presides over family disputes. Women are neither allowed to sit on the council nor be present at their own hearings. Fed up with an increasingly corrupt system that allows men to interpret the Qu’ran for personal gain, the first-ever Women’s Jamaat is formed to address issues of women’s rights. Despite initial harassment, the organization flourishes as women from the community and the Jamaat gain the courage to speak frankly about the daily violence they endure. Invoking Justice follows three cases (two murders and a divorce) as the core members of the Jamaat raise their voices with humor, tenacity and heart to demand retribution. This intimate portrayal offers the women of Tamil Nadu an additional opportunity to “talk back”—to the male-Jamaats, to their aggressors and to anyone who has ever doubted the power and autonomy of a Muslim woman.

Sierra Lee

Co-presented by: Bay Area Video Coalition, Narika, RAMS (Richmond Area Multi-Services)


Executive Producer: Sally Jo Fifer
Producer: Deepa Dhanraj
Cinematographer: Navroze Contractor
Writer: Monisha Baldawa, Jabeen Merchant
Editor: Monisha Baldawa, Jabeen Merchant
Sound: S. Kalaichelvan

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Dates & Times

Invoking Justice

Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
March 16, 2013 1:00 pm Buy Tickets Buy Tickets

Invoking Justice

Pacific Film Archive Theater
March 22, 2013 7:00 pm Buy Tickets Buy Tickets

Invoking Justice

New People
March 23, 2013 7:15 pm Buy Tickets Buy Tickets