A Period Piece
Director: Shuchi Talati
United States, 2020, 13 min
Shooting Format:Alexa Mini
Cast:Sonal Aggarwal, Nardeep Khurmi
Crew:Writer: Shuchi Talati. Producer: Esra Saydam. Co-Producer: Claire Chassagne; Cinematographer: Jih-E Peng; Production Designer: Huda Haqqani; Editor: Shuchi Talati, Kent Bassett; Sound Mixer: Avantika Nimbalkar
Email:shuchifilm AT gmail.com
Geetha, a control and order loving Indian-American woman, finally has sex with Vehd one afternoon but things quickly turn messy when period blood stains her pristine couch and a fight erupts mid-coitus, causing her pent-up feelings to spill over.
About the director
Shuchi Talati is a filmmaker from India whose work challenges dominant narratives around gender, sexuality, race and South Asian identity. Her most recent short film, A Period Piece, about an afternoon of period sex, was selected for SXSW 2020.
Shuchi is in development for her first feature, Girls Will Be Girls, a sexual awakening film set in a conservative boarding school in India. Girls has been selected for Berlinale Script Station, Jerusalem Film Lab, Cine Qua Non Script Lab, Film Bazaar Co-Production Market, and is fiscally sponsored by Women Make Movies. Shuchi's work has also been recognized by Berlinale Talents, the New York State Council for the Arts, the Women in Film endowment, and Région Île-de-France.
Shuchi is also a writer / producer for documentaries. Recent credits include We Are: Brooklyn Saints for Netflix, and Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas for HBO, which interrogated policing in communities of color and where one of Shuchi's episodes was nominated for a GLAAD award.
She is a graduate of the American Film Institute and a member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and the Freelance Solidarity Project.
I grew up in a middle-class Indian home where periods were considered dirty or 'unholy'. Women were not supposed to enter temples or kitchens while they were menstruating, lest they soil these sanctums.
In the west, periods aren't explicitly taboo. And yet menstrual products are tucked away in back aisles, advertisements for these products shy away from showing blood, and women in cinema never get their periods. Instagram censored a photo of a fully-clothed woman in period-stained sweatpants (it was later reinstated after a backlash). This kind of omission erases our experience and casts it as something gross.
In A PERIOD PIECE I wanted to celebrate this reality of the female body, and treat sex during menstruation as something natural, even mundane. The period blood that spills over is not a source of shame for the female character. Rather, it becomes a symbol of her life-force that's being sucked out because of this painful relationship.
It was also very important for me to have South Asian characters who are not defined by their South Asianness; who didn't have to become stand-ins for their communities. I wanted to allow them their full range of humanity: to be in love, experience heartbreak and loss, and represent only themselves, not their full community. Because this is how their stories will also be universal—a luxury mostly reserved for characters from dominant cultures.
A PERIOD PIECE is Chapter 1 in a six-part fiction series about sex: The Sextet. The anthology series will center and celebrate characters who are not usually seen as sexual beings in our culture. I want to depict sex with all the messiness, humor, and pathosof real-life sex. Unlike most films, where sex is simply a punctuation, in The Sextet, sex is treated as a conversation where characters' hope and desires are either fulfilled or dashed.