USED AND BORROWED TIME BY SOPHIA ROMMA

Directed by Sophia Romma / Reviewed by Adva Reichman

‘Used and Borrowed Time’ is set during the turbulent 1960’s, in segregated Alabama and based on an unfortunate sadistic racist incident from American history. With numerous racism and antisemitism occurrences happening across the world, this story is as relevant as ever.

In the film Eva, an aging eccentric blind woman, is phantasmagorically transported to her past.There she observes her younger self suffering the tyranny unleashed by a perverted, merciless white supremacist family. Witnessing the clan raging a vengeful retaliation upon her ill-fated love affair with a poetic African American civil rights advocate, she is forced to beg for her life.

Since the film involves magical realism, in some cases old Eva is able to interfere and assist her younger self. In other times, she is able to replace her younger self and expose her current self to those around her. She is reminded of how significant her love story was, but also how painful some parts of it were. For example, after making love for the first time, her boyfriend realizes she is Jewish and struggles to accept her. Then, while trying to overcome their differences, they are caught by the white family whose property they sit in. The white supremacist family members take law into their own hands.They decide to punish the couple for being on their premises, but mainly and truly, the family punishes the couple for being African American and Jewish.As the film progresses it touches on issues such as identity, religion, color, sexual orientation, rape and murder.

It is not a simple film to watch, but it’s an important one. It doesn’t shy away from harsh truths, and unveils the hatred that lied, and in some places still lies, in today’s world. 

I think the film could have benefitted from being shorter and tighter, so the buildup to key moments would have been more suspenseful. The music helped enhance the drama, and the acting was entertaining at times, and gut wrenching at others.  I’m not sure the VFX did the film justice, but I enjoyed the fantasy concept it displayed.

The director, Sophia Romma, is an experienced screenwriter and director. In her portfolio, you will find the award-winning film ‘Poor Liza’, which she co-wrote and produced, starring Emmy winner and three-time Golden Globe winning actor, Ben Gazzara, and two-time Emmy and Academy award-winning actress, Lee Grant. Romma also wrote and directed various successful screenplays and films such as ‘Call Girls for Hire: The Sex Slave Trade Epidemic in Eastern Europe’,‘Underneath Her Make-Up’,which unveiled the stigmatized and hounded LGBTQ community in India,‘The Frozen Zone’, which sheds light on the supernatural healing powers of ancient shamanism and its infinite wisdom, and many more…

In this film, Romma states she wanted to expose the horrid and common practice of shameful racism and segregation in the 1960’s. At the height of the protests against segregation laws and inequity, she documented an incident that occurred in Birmingham, Alabama. This moment in time was recounted by a son of slaves. According to the director, he poured his heart out about this true bitter tale where unspeakable crimes were committed against an innocent Jewish blind girl and her African American soul mate.

This film manages to beautifully deliver an important message while remaining artistic and unique. It is Romma’s hope that this film shall serve as a reminder of the evil that can happen, and as a beacon of hope in the fight for human rights, gender parity, and equality.

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