In a world too often plagued by anguish and pain, true beauty can be hard to find. Linor Abargil is proof, however, that such beauty exists. And that’s not simply in reference to her looks, but also to her beautiful and infallible spirit.
With Cecilia Peck’s powerful documentary, Brave Miss World (playing at Magnolia Theatre April 10 and Angelika Film Center Dallas April 12), viewers are brought on Linor’s journey from city to city, country to country, as she helps women cope with an issue that’s unfortunately very near to her own heart: rape.
Less than two months before she was crowned Miss World in 1998, Abargil was raped while modeling in Italy. In spite of the trauma she’s experienced, her heart remains full of love, and her warm personality shines brightly throughout the film.
“We found Linor [Abargil]’s lack of shame in talking about rape to be extremely compelling,” says director Cecilia Peck.
“We both found Linor’s lack of shame in talking about rape, and her belief that telling her story could help other women to seek help, to be extremely compelling,” director Cecilia Peck says of the first time that she and producer Inbal Lessner met Abargil in 2008. “Little did we know that it would be an almost five-year odyssey and harder, but hopefully more important, than anything else we’d ever undertaken.”
One of the many challenges in creating this documentary, Peck says, was handling the everyday stresses of filmmaking while simultaneously dealing with such tough subject matter.
“When you’re on a micro budget and have a tight schedule — with travel, hiring and managing crews, technical issues, production problems, sleep deprivation, etc. — it can be hard to make sure you are also remaining very respectful of the delicate emotional lives of the people you’re working with,” Peck says.
Abargil faced challenges of her own throughout the filming process, often sacrificing her own well-being for the good of her cause. Brave Miss World doesn’t define her by one tragic event, but rather focuses on the incredible woman she has become and paves the way for other women to take back control of their own lives.
However, women are not the only ones capable of connecting to the film, as rape is an issue affecting men as well. The film fearlessly confronts a difficult subject with both an elegant grace and an extreme fierceness, giving victims not only a voice, but also hope for a better future.