Title: Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman
Director: Jennifer Fox
Running Time: 6 hours, Unrated (language & some nudity), Available on DVD and Sundance Now
Filmmaker Jennifer Fox presents herself and a cast of characters who are real people in her life as she reflects on her own experiences as a “free woman,” over the course of 4 years. She takes multiple trips all over the world, interviews several women and captures their own views and experiences of what it is like being a woman in their part of the world and the struggles and hardships that Jennifer as a free woman could never imagine.
The film is full of women talking about their lives and how they learned and grew from the choices they made that helped them evolve. The “passing of the camera” technique was a groundbreaking tool at the time this was filmed, and it helped create an intimacy with the subjects as they were being filmed. I’ve noticed it has been used in a lot more documentaries since; the technique has become a standard.
I really wasn’t sure what I was going to expect from this mini-series. I realized how freely people judge others for their choices and mistakes, by watching something like this documentary. From a viewer, I can say that Jennifer Fox made some really bad choices in her love life – hooking up with a married man and calling their relationship “love.” One subject, Paromita, a civil rights lawyer in India gave some outstanding advice and words of wisdom. While she’s living in a repressed society, she’s intelligent enough to know that what Jennifer called love, is merely “attraction.” Love takes time, sex is not love. Sounds too simple, but it’s a common misconception and had I seen this film earlier in my life, I would’ve had an a-ha moment that probably would’ve helped me from making some terrible decisions.
Jennifer’s continued affair with her married boyfriend Kai and her struggling to get pregnant at such a mature age with her Swiss boyfriend Patrick could get some finger waving and head shakes from some viewers, but that’s all apart of her journey. We have to set aside our opinions and just watch people make discoveries and realizations on their own, as difficult as it may sound. I thought it was rather bold of her to try to bring up questions and opinions in countries where women are seen as akin to dogs. Where women are married off to their rapists in order for the attackers to avoid jail time. She asks a group of Indian women about masturbation, but since it’s an unheard of concept for women to have sexual pleasure, there are no words to translate her question. A Somali woman named Amina tells of her experience with female circumcision/Female Genital Mutilation and how women have to be cut open in order to have sex with their husbands. It’s disturbing, but it a subject that needs to get more people involved in ensuring its cessation.
Flying – Confessions of a Free Woman is a funny and raw documentary series, and it’s an important one that women of all ages need to experience. Fox’s own friends and family discuss their regrets (having children, not having children, men they’re married to, men they’re divorced from, affairs, careers) and as a viewer it’s easy to catch and point out that these things made them stronger and better people. It has answers for different lifestyles cultures and situations that many women may be afraid to ask or are too blind to see that they are living them and may assist in the growing and healing processes to overcome them.
Reviewed by: JM Willis
Total Rating: A