this is how I lost my virginity, Directed By Claire Chubbuck

Ramtin Ebrahimi

this is how I lost my virginity approaches a significant, and sensitive, subject; a subject that is still one of the most important problems in the world, and takes many victims each year: Sexual Assault. There are victims whose lives will always be affected by it and some of them carry the psychical scar it leaves behind until the end of their lives. Sexual assault and the issue of consent are among the problems that might not be solved quickly and but it surely begs us to reconsider the whole situation and try to educate the public about everything related to them. The film immediately and directly reveals its subject from the beginning. Sara, abandoned in a street corner writhes around after being a victim of sexual assault, she is taken to a remote location and experiences a horrible trauma. The film clarifies its stance on this subject from the very beginning: if all sexual assault victims start describing what they have gone through, we can take a few steps towards understanding it, dealing with it and, ultimately, finding solutions as how to prevent it. The main problem, perhaps, lies in the fact that societies refrain from taking responsibility, and they are not ready to face this problem. After the introduction, the film returns to the past to tell its story. Although the film has already clarified its stance right from the beginning, in returning to the past, it tries to keep its distance with the protagonist so that we can have a better understanding of her story. Sara comes from an immigrant family and this is shown through a few small signs. The family speaks in their mother tongue and Sara feels apprehensive in such circumstance. The filmmaker cleverly weaves the scenes together. This scene, with the help of Sara’s yellow sweatshirt, shifts to another one in a street where Sara is taking off the same sweatshirt. The rhythm of the film is well maintained from the beginning and the filmmaker seems to know how to tell the story to keep its consistency, to stop beating around the bush, and, as long as possible, to better familiarize us with its characters.

The film is also brilliant in its attempt at characterization. Sara’s character gets developed with every single scene. We get to know her stance in her family through one scene and we fully figure out her relation with her boyfriend. In the car scene, we realize what kind of a girl Sara is and in the next scene (the party) we find out why her relationship with the boyfriend is the way it is. We observe the boy’s frivolity in the party and Sara’s avoidance and being reserved in the car scene. The film puts the party scene in its center of attention to prepare the circumstances for the incidents that follow by shedding light into the characters’ relations. The main menace for Sara happens in the party. Here the villain of the film, and the cause of Sara’s misery and pain, sees his prey. Sara’s shelterlessness at home, party, car, and street paves the way for other horrible happenings; the ones that Sara might not be able to forget; a pain that she needs to recall in order to overcome it.

Claire Chubbuck, the director of the film, started her career with the series Unlock’d in 2015, and in her short film Burn, she dealt with the problems women are facing today. She is well-aware that by dealing with women’s problems, one can find various important, influential, and vital subjects to be brought to the surface, where one can talk about such problems and try to fix them, however insignificant our solutions may be. There are many women in the world that are similar to Sara and go through what she goes through; healthy girls who seek progress in their lives, women who, by some misfortune, are placed in awkward and bitter circumstances; circumstances that render them prey to creatures who live in the same society, and nobody condemns them. By making this film, Claire reminds us that in order to overcome such predicaments, one should not bottle up the bitter memories; the masks of these monsters who prey on women must be taken off. The villain in the film is a mundane character. He is one of us and he hides his true nature in the daylight. The filmmaker does not exaggerate his appearance and manners for making him abominable. He is like others; He apparently takes part in gatherings and socializes with others and is capable of showing himself as a normal person. But behind this mask, a terrifying creature begins to rob and imprison others. Plausibility of circumstances is another key factor in the success of this film; everything might happen in real life. There is no exaggeration in what happens in and after the party, no exaggeration in the horrific nature of the place where Sara is imprisoned. The scenes are set in way that we believe there are such monsters around and among us.

this is how I lost my virginity can be regarded as a warning to the younger generation who are unaware of the night life perils, who do not know what lurks outside, and who do not know what might be waiting for them in society. Sara’s life is divided into two parts after this accident. The world where she treads after the incident is not the same as what it was before it; it is a world where one cannot easily trust others, join a group, or make friends; an unsecured and unsafe world that if we get to know it better, it keeps us away from possible dangers. This is a brilliant film with fantastic shots and a balanced rhythm that takes us through a journey into the darkest spots of a city, and points us to the right direction, that we need to take actions and educate people, and victims must not let their trauma go unheard as it might help to prevent other incidents