Right Now x Zenith Collective – Part V: Listen by Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni

By Zenith Collective and Ben Callinan


A film by Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni

Social Justice, Denmark (2014) | 13 mins

Words by Ben Callinan

A woman sits in a Danish police station dressed in a burqa. She speaks Arabic, which is translated into Danish by an interpreter. She tells of the violent abuse her son and her suffer at the hands of her husband. We listen to her story, several times. It is told from her perspective, from the perspective of the interpreter and from the perspective of the Danish-speaking police officers. Yet despite the woman’s best efforts to explain the horror of her situation the police officers struggle to grasp what she needs.

Listen explores how we fail to communicate and in turn, how we fail to understand. The woman’s desperate cries for help are rendered to the police officers as angry and incoherent ramblings. The barriers between language, culture and appearance are too great. It demonstrates that without the ability to listen to each other it will be impossible to find common humanity and compassion.

Listen sharply depicts how the same rights and protections are not offered to all. The Danish police officers want to be helpful but societal structures place the woman before them as an outsider whose cultures and practices are alien. The film asks us to pay attention to those who ask us for help – to not do so, we risk placing them in fatal danger.

You can find Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni’s Listen and the work of many more international filmmakers, on Zenith Collective’s online archive.


Review – Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia

By Georgia Cerni

Sophie Cousins’ book Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia is, in many respects, a proposal. For Cousins, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Australians with an opportunity to reconsider the ways our society currently functions. Cousins aptly makes her case – while in some ways the pandemic reinforced burgeoning inequalities, it also presented us the chance to apply collectivist values to solve systemic problems.