Driving With Selvi
Rating: Four stars
By the time documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Elisa Paloschi’s metaphoric image of her title character looking in her rearview mirror appears, you will have come to love and admire this young Indian woman. Selvi is one of 250 million women worldwide who have been married before age 15, with one-third of these child brides living in India, we’re told at the start. Forced into an abusive arranged marriage at age 14, she eventually fled, learned to drive and became the southwest state of Karnataka’s first female taxi driver, her passport to freedom in a patriarchal society. Paloschi shadowed her endearing can-do subject for a decade, which gives this inspirational film considerable scope. While Selvi’s past was so ugly she once contemplated suicide, with her self-liberation taking a heartbreaking toll on her own family relations, this is ultimately a story of hope. This young mother and human-rights activist with a winning smile is a wonderful role model, living proof it’s never too late to overcome adversity and achieve happiness on your own terms.