This is not a film about men versus women. Beyond Men and Masculinity explores how men see themselves, how they relate to the people they say they care about and how the personal impacts the political.
What happens when men are taught to disconnect from their feelings in the name of being strong and independent? What is the link between shame and male violence?
Why do we find it hard to value kindness and compassion in men? And what role do women play in defining what is expected from men and masculinity?
A discussion of these sometimes uncomfortable questions is now more crucial than ever. From the therapy room to the political battlefield, this provocative film offers a clear insight into why we must look beyond traditional definitions of men and masculinity.
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A Mother and Daughter – Lillian and Jette – are climbing up a mountain in Switzerland. A mountain that brings back a lot of memories.
They hike from cabin to cabin while they dig into a past which Lillian has spent many years trying to suppress: Jette was sexually abused by her stepfather throughout her childhood and youth. A part of the abuse took place in the same cabins that Jette and Lillian are now revisiting.
Jette has invited her mother to go on this trip because she needs to talk about what happened, and especially about Lillian’s role in it all. Jette loves her mother, but at the same time she can’t stand being close to her. Over the years Jette has begun to question whether her mother knew about the abuse or not. Naturally Jette feels a deep frustration. But she has a strong hope that if Lillian admits she knew about the abuse, Jette can find an opportunity to forgive her mother and reestablish a healthy relationship.
The mountain trip puts the two women’s relationship to the test. When Jette gets the conversation started, she doesn’t get the answer that she expected: Lillian denies that she saw or knew anything.
This is the starting point of a physically and emotionally life-changing journey, which forces the two women to face their own inner demons and to embrace the pain and the guilt, but also to have faith. The conversations intensify as the two women move up the mountain.
At one point it seems like this trip might be the last thing they will ever do together.
Can violent men change? Call Me Dad is a film that takes its audience to the most delicate and painful place inside a parent’s heart. A place where good intentions and hope are pitted against entrenched and tormenting cycles of violence.
For some of these fathers, their fists are their weapons. For others, words and manipulation are most potent, used as part of a sustained pattern of intimidation, threats, and abuse intended to isolate, diminish and control the people they love. Now these men are seeking change. They have come together to talk, share information, challenge and support each other to be better men, partners and fathers to their children.
The group’s founder and facilitator David Nugent believes that women and children have the right to live their lives free from violence, and that men can change if they have the will and opportunity to do so. He challenges men to take ownership of their abusive and violent behaviours, and shows them that they can make different choices, and in doing so, can stop the cycle of violence.
David draws these men deep into conversation about the underbelly of patriarchal forms of masculinity, and the ways in which sexism can harm and diminish women, and constrict and isolate men.
Together the participants in David’s program are reaching for the courage and knowledge they need to be good partners, and good fathers. These men have taken the brave and difficult decision to confront their behaviours and histories head-on. These Dads are fighting to change the story for the next generation. Can these men re-establish ‘family’?