Banishanta is a tiny island in the Bay of Bengal, some 300 feet long and 30 feet wide. The island is sinking due to tropical storms and a rising sea level, crumbling away under the feet of its inhabitants, several dozen of women and their families. For the Banishanta women, another factor impairs their wellbeing: most of them are prostitutes selling sexual services to the crews of passing ships.
Chrissy D reviews Bad Weather, the 2011 documentary by Giovanni Giommi on this Bangladeshi “brothel island”, which screened as part of the DocHouse April season. She struggled to find the right words to assess the account of the plight of Banishanta prostitutes:
The film doesn’t so much ask us to do something, but just to observe and learn from the subjects and their predicament. Which is what I did. Indeed, I remain in the grip of the enigma, almost unable to communicate the piece’s impact on me.