'Tryphine' is a horror and mystery that uses an atmosphere of utter dread to explore strong themes of immigration and feminist solidarity. It is a film that blends South-Asian cinema, Victorian Gothic visuals, and modern Thriller storytelling.
In Partnership With
AFI Directing Workshop for Women
Inclusion Statement'Tryphine' is a story written by a woman of color and addressed to all women everywhere. The story is held up by two South-Asian women and is told in different languages. One of the youngest women ever accepted by AFI's Workshop, Revati Dhomse is dedicated to on-screen and off-screen representation.
About The Project
Kareena, a struggling grad student, is brought to a grand country estate to teach English to the disturbed wife of a wealthy heir. As her lessons with the manic bride become more and more intense, she gradually begins to understand the dangerous extent of the strangeness she faces inside the house.
“Tryphine” is a retelling of ‘Bluebeard’, a folktale in which women are punished by a man for their curiosity. Kareena and Sita are two South-Asian women uprooted and planted in a country that is not their own; one has integrated into it, while the other is isolated. Sita is clearly traumatised and endangered, but renounced by her peers as ‘hysterical’. As the film progresses, these women are only able to survive because they believe and give aid to one another. One only needs to look at the current #MeToo movement to see that traumatic events experienced by women are widely written-off or even ridiculed; it’s only through mutual support and the testimony of other women that are we able to survive and overcome injustice. Through magical realism and horror, we examine how women are victimised, vilified, and ultimately how they can save each other.
In creating ‘Tryphine’, we are trying to tap into the peculiar terror of alienation and isolation faced by so many immigrant women the world over, and especially those in South-Asian diasporas. Arranged marriage is still incredibly commonplace globally, and while largely benevolent, it is still not uncommon for women to find themselves stuck in an unfamiliar place, with an unfamiliar man, and absolutely no tangible connection to anyone around them. In some cases, the consequences are very serious indeed. ‘Tryphine’ is about viewing what might otherwise be a familiar horror story through a uniquely South-Asian lens. It uses the tropes of the genre to examine themes of spousal abuse, gaslighting, and the importance of female solidarity and believing the testimony of women. Tryphine is a project that matters very greatly to us, and we hope it will resonate with others as well.
"I write to exist. For far too long, the words of women - especially women of color - have been erased or plagiarized. When I was just a toddler, we left India, and headed west to California. I spent a lot of time in front of a TV while my mother pursued both a career and higher education in a completely new country. As a result, I fostered a deep love for movies from a young age - even if the majority of the movies I consumed didn’t really love me. I quickly learned that movies tended to ignore, forget, and erase women who looked like me and, yet, I loved them. Nevertheless, to find any piece of media that reflects the truth you see around you is a feeling like no other. It is to love and be loved in return. I want to give that to the people who come after me. By telling these stories, I want other women like me to feel seen."
- Revati Dhomse
The AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally as narrative screen directors. Since its inception in 1974, the DWW has graduated over 300 alumnae, creating robust network of female storytellers empowered to lend their voices to film and television in ever greater numbers. Each year, the DWW provides eight gifted directors with immersive training and the support to complete a short film or digital series. Revati Dhomse is one of the youngest applicants ever to be included in the program.
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About This Team
Listed as one of Variety's 110 Students to Watch in their 2015 educational impact report, Revati Dhomse is a writer and director who lives in Los Angeles. Born in Mumbai and raised in California's Silicon Valley, her short ‘The Death of Colm Canter’ went on to receive praise by CineWomen magazine, in which they called it a "technically audacious and emotionally gripping film." The feature version that Dhomse co-wrote explored similar themes of motherhood and duty and went on to earn the rank of quarter-finalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in 2018. ‘The Death of Colm Canter’ was awarded the Barry Josephson Fellowship at the Austin Film Festival in the same year. Dhomse enjoys exploring themes of womanhood through magical realism and/or heightened genres in her art.