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The Resilience of Petunias

Film analysis written by Pedro Castro

Every year, amidst a solemn display of faith in Macedonia, the ecclesiastical leader of the city undertakes the ceremonial task of casting a cross-shaped emblem into the tumultuous waters of a frigid river. Following this sacred gesture, a crowd of fervent devotees, numbering in the hundreds, plunges in search of this coveted symbol, promising a year filled with happiness and abundance bestowed upon the fortunate soul who succeeds in its retrieval.

However, an unprecedented occurrence disturbs the tranquil balance of the picturesque city depicted in the narrative: a woman, fueled by a daring never before seen, ventures into the icy depths and claims the cross for herself, and in that way, ascending to the pinnacle of triumph amidst a stunned population.

"God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija" emerges as a powerful cinematic statement that not only portrays the journey of its protagonist but also echoes the challenges faced by women worldwide, as evidenced by the issues addressed in the EL PAÍS article on sexism and gender-based violence.

The film, skillfully directed by Teona Mitevska, transcends Petrunija's narrative to become a vibrant testimony of female resilience in the face of structural oppression. Amidst the intricate layers of the plot, the viewer confronts the global reality of patriarchy, where sexism permeates all spheres of society, as evidenced by the alarming statistics of violence against women in various countries, highlighted in the article.

Zorica Nusheva's masterful performance as Petrunija elevates the character beyond the script's limitations, making her character a symbol of resistance and courage in the face of adversity. Each scene, and each gesture, resonates with a palpable energy that echoes not only on the screen but also in the collective consciousness of the audience, especially when considering the reports of harassment and abuse mentioned in the article, which often remain silenced and invisible.

Petrunija's audacity in challenging established norms echoes the efforts of women worldwide who struggle for their autonomy and dignity. Under Mitevska's skillful direction, we are confronted not only with the physical violence faced by the protagonist but also with the more subtle forms of oppression and misogyny present in her society, as highlighted in the article by the decriminalization of gender-based violence in some countries.

Furthermore, the film offers an incisive critique of misogynistic social structures that permeate not only the fictional Macedonia of the plot but also the real world. From the lack of punishment for sexual harassment to the perpetuation of child marriage, each element of the storyline reflects the injustices faced by women worldwide, as evidenced by the statistics and examples cited in the article.

The name "Petrunija" (translated to Portuguese as Petunia), consecrated as a feminine attribute, resonates in the pages of countless literary works, compendiums of proper names, and other publications dedicated to nomenclature. These sources, notable in Brazilian territory, echo the suggestion that Petrunija (or Petunia), in Tupi or Guarani, acquires the significance of the "red flower."

"God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija" transcends the boundaries of entertainment to become a powerful testament to the female struggle for equality and justice. Under Mitevska's visionary leadership and Nusheva's compelling interpretation, the film not only touches and provokes reflections but also inspires a call to action in a world where sexism is still an omnipresent reality.


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