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Tribeca Review: “Big Sister” (2017) ★★★★

How to prevent sexual violence? What kind of lesson should be taught to grown up people in order to be a role model for youngsters?  Yes, sexual violence can be against a woman and even a man as well. It has been told in documentaries or movies so many times that its best to stop it once and for all. In Michal Gassner’s Big Sister (Ahotcha, Hebrew title) you will be seeing one out of millions of ways of looking at one example to learn the meaning of sexual abuse and how that can be recognized…

Gili is a young woman who has a special approach towards male sexual offenders. She invites them with her look, but then punishes them by beating them up. Indeed, she knows how to teach a lesson, she is brave and determined. However, that bravery and determination will be shakened by the news when she learns that her own brother is one who she stands against…

Ido is her younger brother who got into trouble at school – he sexually assaulted a student, and when Gili asked him why did he do that, his answer stunned her, “because she wanted it”, he yells. When she hears that, she wanted to do the same thing she does to every sexual offender, but eventually she gets a better, but a dangerous idea to show him the difference between “wanting” and “not wanting it”.

Film directed by Michal Gassner is an excellent example of ‘before fixing the world, start doing this in your home first’. It’s not like Ido was a bad young man, but he appeared to hang out with wrong guys, who eventually turn him against himself. Gili, instead, is an idealistic person. She fights for what she believes is right. But soon she learns one fight is not enough to achieve her agenda.

Filmed in Hebrew, Big Sister is an important film to see. Maybe the approach taken by Gili is something you might find too dangerous to begin with, but sometimes certain lessons need to be taught in a harsh way, if that way is the only one to open somebody’s eyes to reality. In the end, thirteen minutes of running time, Big Sister was enough to deliver its message. And it did. And I hope you as a viewer will see it as well, because, it’s hard to judge others, it’s not easy to step onto the heroic path… But when you do that, there is no need to go out for that… The world is better not from the outside… but from the inside if you pay careful attention to what I really mean…

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