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Updated: December 13, 2010 15:00 IST

The dilemma of a career woman

Sangeetha Unnithan
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Alejandra Szeplaki, director of the film `A day in Orange'. Photo:S. Gopakumar
THE HINDU
Alejandra Szeplaki, director of the film `A day in Orange'. Photo:S. Gopakumar

No matter which part of the world she belongs to, almost every career woman is confronted with the predicament of prioritising motherhood and career at some point of her life.

Venezuelan director Alejandra Szeplaki deals with this universal feminine dilemma in her film 'A day in Orange’ which is being featured in the Competition Section of the 15th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).

In the film, Ms Szeplaki explores the inner crisis, fears, emotions and anxieties faced by three modern women from three different countries and situations who are confronted with unexpected pregnancy.

"Choosing between career and motherhood is a very personal decision. Some women balance the two beautifully while some have a difficulty dealing with the situation, especially if they belong to a very competitive profession," said Ms Szeplaki speaking to The Hindu.

"Most of the time a woman is on her own while making this life changing decision. Sometimes it can go against what the men in their lives want. But there is no right and wrong to this issue. My film simply portrays how three women from three different backgrounds deal with this situation," she added.

'A day in Orange' is the debut feature film of Ms Szeplaki who is a documentary film-maker with around 40 documentaries and short films to her credit, most of which deal with political and feminist issues. Shot over two-and-a-half years in three countries, the 'A day in Orange' involves 350 crew members, mostly women. The film, a Venezuelan, Columbian and Argentine co-production, is having its world premier at the festival.

"This is basically a feminist film made by women for women. However, when it was screened for the first time at IFFK the other day, I saw that the audience mostly consisted of men. I thought that was surprising and funny," said Ms Szeplaki who is on her first visit to India.

The 39-year-old film-maker, who describes herself as a feminist socialist, is enthusiastic about the developments made in the field of women’s welfare in her country by the Hugo Chavez government, which has for the first time constituted a separate Ministry for Women’s Affairs.

"Women have more opportunities and rights today. But the most revolutionary development in this field that took place recently is the decision to provide pension to housewives from the age of 65. This is very important because the work of housewives is not respected generally. Their work is viewed as a mere duty and not labour. Ours is the first country in Latin America to introduce such a pension for housewives," she said.

Ms Szeplaki is also hopeful about the developments in Latin American cinema. "More and more women are entering this field. However, it is still difficult to fund a film independently in Latin America. That is why we have gone for co-productions with other countries. Also it opens up larger screening possibilities and exposure for the film," she said adding that is now working on her second feature film `Pink Chronicles’ which will be a romantic comedy.

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