SXSW 'A Period Piece' Review: A raw and honest look at menstrual sex and flawed moments during love-making
'A Period Piece', directed by Shuchi Talati, is about how an intimate moment between a man having an affair with a woman also portrays putting up a fight against patriarchy
Periods. A taboo topic in South Asia, especially India, where all products related to periods are shoved to the back of the aisle in a store and adverts for period products do no depict blood. Director Shuchi Talati explores periods in her SXSW short 'A Period Piece' through an Indian-American woman Geetha who has finally decided that she will have sex with Vehd.
Geetha and Vehd want to have sex and the lust is visible in the look that they give each other. Things get hot and heavy as the two share a passionate kiss and undress each other. They settle on the couch and sex is written all over they grasping hands and moans. That's when Geetha declares that she is on her periods and Vehd says it doesn't matter. He wants her and if he has to have period sex, that is fine by him. He collects some towels and lays it down on the couch and gets his hands on a condom. As he tears the wrapper open, he says in a deadpan voice that he hates using a condom. On cue, Geetha says that she got tested and that she is clean. Vehd, however, is not ready to go at this without his condom.
There is a pause from Geetha, who is clearly embarrassed about suggesting this and is also upset but she doesn't let it get to her. After all, this is just sex. So the two proceed only for Vehd to call a time out. He says, he wants to go slow and pulls out only to drip blood over the couch. This upsets Geetha, who wants to clean up first and so we see Geetha clean up what Vehd said, "looked like a massacre". As she uses wet tissues to clean the couch, Vehd looks at her, tries to help, and when she says nothing, he asks her if he should leave.
So far, he hasn't apologized and Geetha points this out. When he asks her what she wants, she says she wants an apology. For Vehd though, this doesn't come easy. In fact, she then observes how his wife was right and that he believes that he is always right. Even then, Vehd takes his time before offering a heartfelt apology.
This conversation between Geetha and Vehd is understated and honest. Sex is not guaranteed to look like or feel like what we see in movies or porn. There are interruptions, chances of things not working out and all this is reflected in the short. It packs a punch, especially considering how periods itself is portrayed in the short. No, they do not dramatically draw your attention to the blood on the couch or to the bloodied sanitary pad that is affixed to Geetha's panty. Contrarily, it is the matter of fact treatment that makes an impressive statement while also representing what women go through while on periods.
'A Period Piece' was one of the narrative shorts selected to be screened at the SXSW Festival.