Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial’

Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial’

Director Kelly Showker shows traces of first feature-itis in Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial. However she survives through her punk sensibilities. This is surprising to see in a documentary where women should, in theory, be in their best behaviour. Showker’s main subject is Mandi Gray, a sexual assault survivor. Both collaborate to use the latter’s story as an example of what it’s like to be any sexual assault survivor. They show us a lot of animation. Most of the info in these segments are about sexual assault in the personal and the legal sense. I will talk a lot about theory here. In theory, rape is a crime against the state. That state has its share of citizens who experienced and survived sexual assault. Both show an awareness of what her audience needs. They’re encouraging other women to come out but also show them the facts.

Showker and Gray made the movie as the latter goes through her quest to prosecute her rapist. This is the second time I’m seeing someone revisit a traumatic place. This is, of course, a more effective version of that documentary trope. Gray does interviews in the same alleyway where her rapist escalated his aggression towards her. Showker warps these places, juxtaposing the images of Toronto’s Annex neighborhood with Gray’s face. Both capture the complex psychology of a woman who display different reactions to the, well, absurd events after her assault. Separately or together, they also talk to other survivors and activist about what women endure through the legal process. Gray even talks to a lawyer as he coaches her on how to shield herself from other defense lawyers’ tactics. Seeing this lawyer, who would have been the enemy, feels hopeful here, and it’s nice to have some hope here.

Hot Docs is premiering Slut or Nut on May 2nd at 9PM at the Isabel Bader Theatre. It’s also screening on May 3 at 8:45 PM at the Scotiabank Theatre. Last show is on May 4 at 6:45 PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
Comments are closed.