God Body is an experimental short film that meditates on black female bodies, religion, the patriarchy and the female gaze. It uses baptism as a symbol of freedom and self actualization.
God Body is a collective question between the collaborators around the body and psyche of the black feminine through the lens of the church. What is its place in a patriarchal society? What does the ownership of one’s sexuality and freedom to exercise spirituality and power look like today? These questions all manifested themselves in a short film.
The film uses the visual metaphor of the church as the body of a single deity and the communal collective simultaneously. “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” (Romans 12:5). We want to explore the ills of patriarchy, misogyny and silencing to participate in society and buy a pseudo-freedom whilst the mass murder of womxn continues. The contradiction of the strength womxn possess and the dehumanizing dethroning through sexualization and erasure of this God Body.
In the film, the metaphor extends itself through the female gaze the characters all exchange with the viewer and each other. This is to explore the possibility of taking back the body that is so often fetishized and controlled and the daring act of recognising one another. The styling and general appearance of the naked form throughout the film not only addresses the body as an object of desire but also as an opportunity for ownership, acknowledgment, and acceptance of one’s skin and sexuality. Belonging wholly to yourself, to your form and finally to experience that freedom. The sanctity of the church is juxtaposed against the sharp and equally soft form of the revealed body throughout the film. To place revealed bodies inside the church‘s body, inside God’s body, inside her own body. “The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12).
The opening scene introduces us to the choir, the collective commentator who witnesses the womxn isolated in constant confession, an internal fight womxn have with self and society and hiding self from society. We then bare sight of the baptism of oneself into the religion of self. The well becomes a mirror in which to reflect, this sacrament a ritual, baptism as a daily face wash. An exercise to meet yourself anew. The Holy Communion is a symbol of the body and the blood of Christ, we see the desperation for this Godly love denied and instead are reminded of the suffering that womxn endure daily. The pain is not isolated, gendered violence does not affect a certain group of people only, therefore partial healing cannot lead to wholesome bodies. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26).Dimpho Mashile
Director: Dimpho Mashile
Cinematographer: Leonorah Moyo
Editor: Leonorah Moyo,
Art Director: Amandla Maya
Writer: Zizipho Bam
Narrator: Mbali Jozi, Music Vincent Ndlela