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NEWS

In The Morning Film Review

Shows the struggles of children living in abusive homes

BY Agnes Amondi

Nov 21, 2022, 09:36 AM

When Zimbabwean film director Ntombizodwa Masuku set out to shoot the film ‘In The Morning’ her aim was to highlight the impact of domestic abuse on children. The topic itself is not new but her approach is different. 

She deliberately set this film in an upper-middle-class home because to the outer world, these families always have it together. The man, wife and children are all happy except that at times, behind closed doors, there are issues boiling, waiting to erupt. 
‘In The Morning’ takes us inside the mind of Thandi, a teenage girl who’s seen the worst of his father. He fought with her mother in front of her or would hear them yell at the top of their voices. During one of these incidences, she gets in between them and pushed his father to his death.
Behind the scenes shot of In The Morning
These issues leave her disturbed. Despite her talking to a therapist, she is under duress from her mother to never reveal too much. Her mental struggles leave her isolated and deeply anxious.

Read More: Buried: A Thriller on Power, Abuse & Trauma

Ntombi: “I watched a lot of films and I noticed that most domestic violence stories are targeted at a specific person, usually the woman of the abuser. We never see a child’s perspective; what they go through and how they deal with the situation.

“I also wanted to show how we suppress trauma and never talk about things especially when we come from a family considered to be in high society.”
In the Morning Film Director Ntombizodwa Masuku
The film does a good job of showing the parenting dynamic of how some children are raised. The parents' word is final, you can even say the law and any attempts to question or deviate call for disciplinary measures. 

This is seen when Thandi’s mom forces her to forget about the traumatic events she experienced and not allowing her to share them with her therapist. When she insisted on speaking up, she slaps her and ends her away.
Ntombi: “A lot of the time in African homes, children are bound to silence. You might want to speak up but you have to pretend that everything is well. I’ve heard so many stories like this. Making this film is about opening the floor and starting these difficult conversations which involve highlighting some things that our parents did that affected us.”

This ties in with one of the biggest conversations today, mental health. Many people are opening up about their struggles, some of which stem from their childhood traumas. At the same time, most young parents vow to give their children a different life experience from what they endured. How does the film reconcile the two?
The director of the film In the Morning
“I made this movie for both parents and children. It is a wake-up call for teenage and older parents. I have realised that when people get older they want to talk about things that happened before but they don’t know how to go about it. So for parents, this should serve as a reflection and help them find a way to resolve things with their kids. For the kids who are carrying wounds, they should think about healing.”

You will have a chance to see the film at the International Images Film Festival for Women, an opportunity that Ntombi describes as “exciting” particularly because it caters for women.

Read More: All About the International Images Film Festival

“When I saw that it was catered to women I knew I wanted to submit my film. What they do is important. They are backed by strong women and build other women in the film industry. I’ve realised that it’s very hard for women to get opportunities and we don’t get a lot of recognition so it’s exciting that the film gets to be shown at this festival.”

If you get a chance to watch ‘In The Morning’ Ntombi says you should “have an open heart and mind because we want to start these kinds of conversations. You might land on ideas that you hadn’t thought about and end up supporting other women through it.”