Vessel

The heroine of this captivating documentary, Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts, embodies the philosophy of tikkun olam—repairing the world through your actions. The founder of Women on Waves, Gomperts has built a floating clinic, a boat where she offers abortions on international waters to women in countries where the procedure is banned. Ships have long been symbols of freedom, she says, but historically a male domain. Her example illustrates the life-saving necessity of providing women with reproductive choice. The film opens in 2003, when she launched her maiden voyage to Ireland. As the trip descends into disaster, she seems little more than an egocentric opportunist running a botched publicity stunt. But the film stays with her over the next decade, as she gleans essential lessons from that wreck to transform her small crew into an ingenious and powerful global organization. The ship becomes the least of their work. She and her team exploit loopholes in international laws to teach thousands of women a World Health Organization–endorsed protocol to give themselves safe abortions at home, using pills available at local pharmacies. Her wits and guile are so inspiring, even those who don’t fully share her views might find themselves cheering her on.
Director(s)
Country(ies)
USA
Language(s)
w/English Subtitle
Release Year
Festival Year(s)
Running Time
88
Cinematographer(s)