TEREZA TARA, FILM DIRECTOR: WOMEN LOSE THEIR WILDERNESS AS A CONSEQUENCE OF HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION
Interview for magazine ONA DNES 02/11/2013
Thanks to your movie, Fish'n'Pills, you have opened a discussion on long-neglected issue - possible negative effects of hormonal contraception. You did so as one of the first people so far. Now, five years later, people still talk about it. What made you decide to make this movie?
Once I heard very rough information that the fish changes sex as a consequence of hormonal contraception. I considered it to be so incredible that I began to search for details and the subject gradually intrigued me so much that I decided to make a movie.
Have you noticed a negative reaction, e.g. from doctors or pharmaceutical companies?
The first years nothing really happened. It seemed that everyone was trying to pretend that similar problem does not exist. At least, until the time they could. I think that big companies are well aware that the best policy is not to attack anyone and not to react to the opinions in order not to attract attention of too many people. I registered one attack on my website but I do not know where it came from. During the filmmaking I met many people who did not believe in existence of the problems described in the documentary. During last five years, it has changed. Today, most people realize that hormonal contraception is not a magic pill and it has negative impacts as well. The number of views of my movies has increased during that period and it makes me happy. I think that such information should be a part of education and both girls and young men should be interested in it.
Have you noticed recent lawsuit from France where young girl had a stroke as a consequence of contraceptives usage and one half of her body was paralyzed because the doctors did not provide blood clotting tests?
I am very surprised that this issue was opened only by that French case. For example, I personally know the case from the Slovak Republic. During the work on Fish´n´Pills documentary, I met women with similar experiences. When I was making interviews with women about their experiences with the pills, I met a girl who was hospitalized due to inappropriately prescribed contraceptives. Her family history involved thrombosis and no one informed her that it could be risky. Fortunately, the problem did not lead to paralysis as in the case of above-mentioned French girl but she suffered from very serious health problems. What shocked me was the fact that her best friend continued to take hormonal contraceptives despite this negative experience of a close person.
You have mentioned that the impacts are not just of biological character. Do you think there are other negative impacts of hormonal contraception?
Widely spread prescription of hormonal contraceptives to very young girls seems to me the worst thing of all. I do not want to underestimate their capability to make decisions but pills are often recommended to them by people who they trust - by friend, mother or of course, by a doctor. Then, the girl has no reason to think that it might be something harmful for her health. I think that, in our society, it is expected from girls to take pills. They are under excessive pressure. Young girls do not know their cycle, their period, they do not really know even themselves. By starting to take hormonal contraception they lose their opportunity to do so. I am convinced that woman is in harmony when she is in harmony with her menstrual cycle. It provides her with a depth to perceive and cognize. The woman can gain a lot of energy from menstruation and it gives her an intuition. Women who take hormonal contraceptives simply lose this opportunity because their menstrual cycle is not natural. If the woman already knows her body, she is able to see the effects of hormonal contraceptives. But the girl does not know it yet and she considers the way she feels as a standard. She actually loses the last natural aspect which has remained in her by nature, loses her wilderness and becomes easily manipulated by surrounding environment.
The manipulation is discussed also in the documentary, "Guru and Girl”. In this movie, you offered a space to the girl who was a "student" of Guru Jára. How did you come across this issue? It was not common in the media at that time.
My friends invited me to a yoga weekend. Everything seemed to me weird, teaching was not good, so I convinced a friend to go back home with me. On the way back, she broke down mentally and told me that she was abused sexually. Until then, she did not have courage to tell that to anyone, she felt guilty and she was very insecure and unhappy. Then I found out that she was not the only one. Across the country, there were many girls, even under aged, with the same traumatic experience from the Poetrie movement. I offered her that we could let know the public about that in a sensitive way – without articles in tabloids or shocking disclosures in the news. When I was making an interview with her, she was already fine with that, she had overcome it. This experience helped her in her personal development. Now, she knows where her limits lay. Unfortunately, many girls have not overcome that so swiftly. When I completed the filmmaking, I prepared a projection for students of this movement upon the request of participants from the documentary. People who were able to provide them with professional psychological and legal assistance participated as well. Each of them had her/his own way, the girls and even their "guru". Certainly, they did not meet each other by an accident. Therefore, I do not want to judge anyone.
You also organize workshops and personal consultancy for women. What did you lead to do these activities?
Everything what I do has origin in the same source. It's just another way of expression. Recently, I prepare Fish'n'Pills Exhibition and hold workshops at the schools where I talk with young people about the cycle of hormones in nature. We talk about the pros and cons of hormonal contraception. Girls who take the pills forget very easily about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and these can be far more dangerous problem for women than an unplanned pregnancy. I also organize workshops for girls which are focused on women's health and prevention of sexual abuse. In the workshops, I work more deeply with women on issues from my movies, we explore creativity and practice tantric yoga – Mohenjo Daro. Besides that, I provide personal consultancy by which I help women to find answers and solutions to various problems in life.
What reasons make women come to you?
The most recently, it's often an abortion issue – either they come to me because they want to talk about it, or we gradually find out that the problem lies right there. In life, it is necessary to honor everything, even that what seems that was predicted not to exist. Then, in cooperation with woman, I try to formulate the issue and use kinesiology to solve the problem. It is important to honor the soul and let her/him go. Women come even with various health problems, such as cleansing of the body after discontinuing the hormonal contraceptives use. Previously, I held workshops to develop creativity; therefore, women come to me even with this issue. I do not call me a therapist; I rather serve as a guide to provide a safe space and insight. Women become relaxed, start to talk, and often they find out the problem by themselves. I just show them a direction. Everybody has her/his inner wisdom, her/his guru; it's just a challenge to find it out.
Nowadays, it is not easy to make a movie. Where do you obtain financial sources?
With the internet, the distribution of movies has completely changed. Many people download movies illegally and do not realize that behind the movie there are particular people who created it and often spent several years of their lives by working on it. The creators deserve the money that will allow them to live appropriately and to create. On the other hand, the internet offers opportunities to let you know about yourself and raise funds for your movies. For example, I launched a beneficiary fund for my new movie “Healing Me” and I am preparing an international campaign to promote the movie. I believe that direct support is a new way of cooperative creation and building a relationship between the director and the audience. The movie is simply supported by those people who resonate with the message and want to see it. It is true that the issues with which I deal are often controversial, but I know that there are conscious companies and businessmen who support such things.
What topic is discussed in your movie Healing Me?
Film discusses my healing process. I suffered from various health problems. Sometimes I did not have even energy to get out of my bed and I felt like an 80-year-old woman when I was 26. I had 20 pounds overweight because my body detained water and circles under eyes ... well, I felt miserable. At that time, I worked a lot. I was devoted to the studies and did not have time for myself or for relationships. I visited normal medicine doctors, but nobody could help me. They were sending me to further and further examinations with no result in a diagnosis. Suddenly, I saw the ineffectiveness of the normal medicine system. My doctor did not know me; she did not know my family history and always sent me to specialists who focused only on one part of the body. That´s why, I gradually began to focus on holistic medicine. I visited a healer and he told me that the problem could be caused by kidneys. I changed my diet, I tried to solve the problem from the perspective of systematic constellations and other methods... During four years I have actually learnt to live in another way, in harmony with my body and soul. And the production of Healing Me documentary is based upon my journey. In movie, I address the entire healing process and importance to listen to your body and to trust in God's guidance.
According to that, have you quitted to trust in modern medicine?
I respect western medicine as it can maintain people alive. However, when I spoke with the head physician in the nephrology clinic, he admitted that many people suffer by problems with kidneys but not always they are aware of that until their failure. Western medicine is not able to detect a rising problem as it addresses only the consequences. Nevertheless, in such a moment it can offer dialysis or transplantation and save your life. Herbal tea probably cannot do that.
Esoterism is relatively widespread and popular in the Czech Republic. But how can we know that we have not met a false guru who would only like to take money from us and we have really found someone who wants to help us?
That´s difficult; some people just do not have the right sense. It may seem obvious to me or to you but they simply do not see it. It is probably related to the fact that we must learn to listen ourselves and be able to distinguish and not to allow us to be caught by esoteric or exotic kitsch. I have traveled a lot and I have realized that there are great people with an open heart in the Czech Republic. There are amazing teachers and people who are able to make your eyes open. You do not have to travel to Indians and eat cactuses to learn this. Slavs have an ancient ability to communicate with nature and to heal. In addition, Christianity has brought a quality of unconditional love. We live in times when these qualities are interconnected and support each other.
This topic has been discussed by Kateřina Tučková in her book, Goddesses of Žítkov. They are already dead and we lost their knowledge and craftsmanship.
That is an excellent book and it is very important for our times. The book not only tells us about their gift but also shows the curse that might be invoked by the abuse of power. I think that every woman can recover a goddess in herself in sense of healing and insight. Every foreigner who arrives in the Czech Republic appreciates inner strength, sensuality and appeal of Czech women. You do not have to heal your surroundings directly; it is about the power of love which you can embrace into anything you work on. I am absolutely convinced that Czech women are witches (laughs). They just have not realized that yet. Abroad, people talk more about it, here we live it. Lot of spiritual guidelines and methods dedicated to self-improvement focus on masculine way. I do not hinder anyone from seeking the inner peace sitting with legs crossed until the hole is made under him/her. But for woman, it is more natural to meet with other women, to dance, to go into the forest and to make a time to perceive herself. You do not have to do anything special or complicated. Woman is naturally spiritual in the case she accepts herself.
And how did you get to the documentary “Women in Fight” which you made for the Czech Television? Is that topic also so close to you?
For several years, I was practicing martial arts - kendo. At that time, an attitude of woman warrior was very important for me. Simultaneously, I was asked by people from the Czech Television to make a documentary about women who practice male sports. The most interesting thing about the whole issue is that woman is so holistic, she involves both male and female aspect. Then, there are periods in her life when one aspect is manifested and needs to be put in harmony with another one. Unfortunately, I suffered an injury during one lesson and I needed to take a one year break. Meanwhile, I discovered tantric yoga which has awakened my feminine energy. Still, I enjoyed much that part of my life spent in yang male form. It is natural for woman to try both. Nowadays, there are attempts to fit us into different pigeonholes - mother, girlfriend, secretary, manager ... the woman is much more. We should listen to our intuition and not to be afraid to be truly unique. That is so beautiful of both women and men.
Interview with Tereza Tara provided by Magdalena Havlíková, Photo: Petr Topič, MAFRA
Tereza Tara: Czech Women Are Witches, They Just Do Not Realize That
Tereza Tara was born in Ostrava. Her first documentary Fish'n'Pills (2007), made during her studies at FAMU, won numerous awards (e.g. The Best Czech Popular-Science Documentary in the field of life science, Academia Film Olomouc 2008; The Best Documentary, Beograd 2008; Film Language Research Award, Rio de Janeiro 2008; Award of Hope for the Czech Film, Finále Plzeň 2008). In short movie, Guru and Girl, she opened the topic of manipulation in the Poetrie movement. In films Be Loved and Seven Valleys, she cooperated with a Sufi dancer, Sashar Zarif. For the Czech Television, she made documentaries: Women in Fight, Small Misters and several episodes of Diagnosis series. She organizes workshops, tantric yoga classes – Mohenjo Daro and personal consultancy for women. She launched the Fish'n'Pills project and regular women´s circles called Wild Women. In women´s circles, women explore their naturalness, femininity, sensuality and creativity. She has a boy-friend. In leisure time, she practices dancing, singing, traveling and relaxing.