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A Woman and Her Car

Distributed by Grasshopper Films, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Produced by Loïc Darses and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
Directed by Hubert Auger and Lucie Tremblay
DVD , color, 29 min., French with English subtitles
College - General Adult
Human Rights, Psychology, Sexual Abuse, Rape

Reviewed by Bryan J. Sajecki, University at Buffalo

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 5/14/2018

A Woman and Her Car is a thought provoking story about a woman facing a demon from her past in a most head on approach. This Canadian film is set within the areas surrounding Montreal, in the Canadian province of Quebec. As the title suggests, the majority of the film takes place as the subject, named Lucie, drives in her automobile. Her car acts not only as a mode of transportation, but also a vehicle to share the internal dialogue that plagues her thoughts.

Lucie was sexually abused as a young child over a period of four years. Now an adult and a mother, she reflects on how she was ripped of her innocence. Her conversations, with the camera as her only confidante, describe the long lasting shame left by her attacker and how it marred her life. She painfully struggles with her feelings, stating, “I can’t pretend anymore.” The pain behind Lucie’s eyes is vivid and palpable, as the multiple close up shots of her face give the viewer a glance into her tortured soul. With a vindicating letter in hand, she decides to drive and deliver it personally to her abuser.

The majority of the movie is captured with a handheld camera and has overwhelming characteristics of amateurism. Very rarely are there filters placed over shots or extreme attention paid to scene transitions and editing tricks. This simplicity acts as a sharp contrast to the complexity of the events that unfold throughout. The original tape, which was filmed in 2003 and 2004, was discovered by Lucie’s son over a decade later and adds another level to the film. In turn, he pieced the footage together and created a chronicle of his mother’s journey from sexual abuse victim to empowered survivor.

A Woman and Her Car is a thoughtfully constructed introspective film that flows like a poem. The road Lucie travels to extinguish her demons is moving and is likely to inspire conversations in women’s studies, psychology, or gender studies classrooms. It would be a wonderful addition to any academic library and is strongly recommended for all collections.