What is menstruation? What changes in a young girl’s life when it first arrives?
Monthlies is a coming of age story of girls that are about to face a new period of their lives. Along with them the young spectator explores the colorful female world hidden behind the everyday reality. What starts as innocent curiosity turns into a witty and emotional trip of exploring the female body and new range of emotions.
The documentary offers useful information about the menstrual cycle as well as the emotional changes that are often part of it. With humor and sensitivity it discloses the history of menstruation, misbeliefs, prejudices and the rules of “menstrual etiquette”, that still persist not only in remote parts of the world but also in our modern society.
The 28 minutes version is intended for young audience. The main characters are 11-16 year old girls. We are accompanied with their stories throughout the film. The narrative structure is given by Helena Maslova (a gynecologist) whose knowledge and recommendations are interwoven into the storyline.
The film is enriched by animations showing the physiological processes of the menstrual cycle as well as the history of menstrual products and various superstitions related to menstruation.
Part of the film covers a unique documentary recording of a rare ritual celebrating the first menstruation in the southern part of India, in the Chennai region. A kaleidoscope of other curious and exotic menstrual rituals is shown in a stylized feature form.
The style of the film is joyful and witty; its attitude is open and free of prejudice. The audio-visual processing is dynamic and subjective. The audio-visual language is represented by a collage of various materials:
- statements of 11-16 year old girls and boys
- filming in school environment
- interviews with primary school kids
- authentic colorful ritual from India, in the Chennay community, celebrating the first menstruation of an Indian girl
- feature unusual rituals from around the world
- explanation of menstrual issues by Helena Maslova, M.D.
- funny animations
“Monthlies” is an educationally playful documentary that is trying to bring important information and humanize this taboo topic in a captivating and intimate way. Besides the primary educational aspect, the film offers, with personal reflections and information, the audience of both genders an emotional experience and a private tour of the intimate world, which is often being rejected.