New BBC Series Sheds Light on Women Suffering Through Pain in Silence

The films focus on painful sex, menopause and more

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In this era of social awareness, many once-taboo issues are being brought to light for women and other marginalized communities. One such taboo is the expectation that women should keep details of their body and health issues private. To overcome that assumed silence, BBC Three commissioned “Body Language,” a four-part series of intimate visual essays that focus on some of the most isolating female reproductive health experiences.

The series was produced by Prettybird and directed by Sindha Agha. Agha is a Sundance Ignite and Sundance New Voices Fellow, with past work including “Birth Control Your Own Adventure,” an official selection for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

The film series is composed of 5-minute films for BBC Three’s social channels and focuses on candid personal accounts of the health battles of four women that examine the normalization of pain, hormone changes, and trauma. The series discusses issues such as early menopause, painful sex, endometriosis and maternal mental health.

The films are visually striking and beautiful, utilizing stop-motion, collage and conceptual imagery to allow the first-person monologues to be told and heart in a bright, compelling way; dripping honey, fruit embedded with glass, all set against colorful backdrops in intentional juxtaposition with the solemn monologues. The subject matter is serious, examining the wrongful normalization of women’s pain, how it leads to women becoming experts in resilience and enduring what they often shouldn’t.

“It’s true that people often don’t want to come near your grief—that’s why I worked with the subjects to create an unconventional style of documentary, using comedy & vivid imagery to find moments of humor and beauty while wading through these heartbreaking stories. My hope is that the style will compel those who typically wouldn’t stop and listen and that the visceral visuals will lead people to inhabit our bodies & minds for a few minutes, in turn, building empathy for the way in which women still suffer on a massive scale from systemic injustices in Healthcare,” says Agha of her aspirations for the series.

‘Body Language’ features as part of the BBC’s Hear Her season, a dedicated season of content across TV, radio and online to mark 100 years since suffrage and the centenary anniversary of women being able to vote in the UK. ‘Body Language’ are available on BBC Three’s YouTube and Facebook channels.

Series commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three
Commissioning Editor for the BBC: Navi Lamba.
Director: Sindha Agha
Production: Prettybird
Producer: Paulette Caletti
Executive Producer: Juliette Larthe
Head Of Production: Hannah May
Director Of Photography: Neus Ollé
Assistant Camera: Mark Swaffield
Digital Image Technician: Ewan MacFarlan
Gaffer: Josie Williams
Art Director: Hayley McDonald
Art Department Assistant: Lois Tagg
Editor: Ellie McNaughtan
Offline Producer: Ella Sedgwick At Work Post
Sound Recordist & Designer: Helen Miles
Colorist: Jessica Vile
Flame Artist: Katie Rhodes
Post-production Producer: Hannah Oliver At Framestore
Casting Director: Maxine Lankitus-Dunkley At Atmosphere Faces
Filmed At Clapham Road Studios

Painful Sex: Rhonda Hierons
Endometriosis: Anais Thorn
Antenatal Depression: Pippa Johnson-Kapp
Early Menopause: Diane Danzebrink

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@cara_02 Cara Anderson is a contributor to Adweek.