Now we reached the last day of the Festival, Day 14. I’ve written everything I wanna say about this festival down below so just scroll down and read it. One last thing though, so what’s next after this? I have something in mind already so I’ll announce new project(s) tomorrow (the likeliness). Enjoy this last piece of the 2017 Women’s Cinema Festival. If you want a more comprehensive view (which I list all the movies from the selection), click on the Awards Winner post down below. Enjoy the piece
At long last (after exactly 4 months), this 2017 Women’s Cinema Festival has come to its end. In the process, 28 films had been reviewed – 20 in the Main Competition, 8 films Out of Competition. Overall, it was an enjoyable ride. While many films I intended to check out (see day 13 for more details) aren’t available online, the selection has no real bomb except for Ava (which I can still argue it’s worth the watch). Let’s go through them once again before we get to the awards announcement.
Something must be said about this sidebar selection: I dedicate this section for lesser-known movies that deserved more attention. Well, “deserve” is a big word, and I’m kinda using it in a broad term here. It’s a sad truth that many of these titles can only make small waves in some festival before releasing quietly in DVD-market, if not at all. With this 2017, I focus on debut features. Three films are first-time work from that written and directed by these female filmmakers. One sets in Poland, one in America and the other in France. Ideally, I would’ve loved to review those following titles, but either they aren’t available anywhere online, or I couldn’t find a suitable subtitle for it (hence I picked Ava as my sixth option). In any case, once they’re available online, I’m gonna review them as well:
- Village Rockstars (India) by Rima Das, an Assamese language indie film that unexpectedly won the top prize at India National Film Awards, about a young village girl in northeast India wants to start her own rock band.
- Microhabitat (Korea) by Jeon Go-woon, a debut film about a thirty something year old woman who is willing to give up her basic necessities of life in order to protect what she treasures the most: cigarettes, whiskey and her boyfriend
- Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Indonesia) by Mouly Surya, which is described as a “Satay Western”, combining aspects of the feminist Western genre with an Indonesian setting. Regretfully I couldn’t find an English subtitle for it.
- Ava (Iran) by Sadaf Foroughi (Iran/ Canada), not to be confused with Ava the French film below, about the life of a high school girl in Iran becomes more complicated after her mother catches her in an act of rebellion.
- What Will People Say (Norway/ Pakistan) by Iram Hag, about a Pakistani Norwegian teenager is kidnapped and taken to Pakistan where she has never been and must learn to adapt to her parent’s culture.
As it stands, I’m pleased to welcome the three films in the Sidebar section at Day 13, Tower. A Bright Day (Poland), Revenge (France, USA) and Ava (France). Enjoy!
Finally, it comes to the final day of the Competition films, with the reviews of the last two entries: The Rider by Chloe Zhao, and Zama by Lucrecia Martel. Both films put their man into focus and again deal with the theme of masculinity, although that theme isn’t the central part of those films. Both films feature characters in a specific location. Whether it’s badland in South Dakota, or the colonial coastal town, the sense of place is another character to both features. In contrast, they approach their films differently: one builds her film around real events and let the story progress naturally; the other builds her rhythm in the post-production process, namely the sound mixing. One benefits from its realism, the other on surrealism. Both are wonderful to look at. Day 12 of the festival, here it comes:
It’s for the very first time in this blog, the definition of “day” is fully realized. Day 11 of this 2017 Women’s Cinema project heads us to two specific cultures – a Palestinian feature father-son road trip Wajib directed by Annemarie Jacir, and a mesmerizing The Seen and Unseen by Kamila Andini. Both films expand from the specific custom and mythology of the region. Both films are the products from directors who delve deeper into their roots. One sticks out for their dialogues, the other is famous for its lyrical images. One roots deep into realism, the other blends reality with its dreamy aesthetic. Both receive the same rating score from me. Day 11 – it’s a day for cultural appreciation.
Day 10 is a day of love and it consists of two movies from actress-turn-director women. Both are the more feminist look on the notion of love. For Lady Bird, it’s a coming of a tale of a girl examining her love with her Mom and her hometown; for Love Education, it’s a tale of romantic love and family. Both Sylvia Chang and Greta Gerwig might be remembered more as an actress (for all the right reasons too), but you could view those films as their passion project. They wrote (in case of Chang, co-wrote) and involved in many stages of the production. Day 10 also boasts some of the stronger performances by female leads: Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in the Sacramento-set film and Sylvia Chang herself with Wu Yanshu in the latter. Click on to see how these two fare. For past coverage, just click on the image on the sidebar, it’ll lead you to the Festival’s main page.
Technical note: for some reasons the sliders in previous posts didn’t work properly so in the meantime, I’m changing to this slider layout. Still prefer the shortcodes version (since it’s handy) but won’t use it until it fixes the issues.
If I have watched Western before, I would’ve put it in the same session with The Rider, as the two shares many similar themes, from its quasi-docu style that features non-professional actors who act as themselves, to their feminist jab at the western genre and male’s identity. But to say all that these double features have many appealing points themselves. They are also a dissection of the male’s psyche and status (in more ways than one) and the Western, but they’re also opposite in many ways. One favors the slow-burn, naturalistic approach, the other goes bold and divisive. One uses a big cast amateur actors, the other is a star-dubbed casts with only handful of characters. One plays mostly in exterior scenes, the other makes the best use of its interior sets. One is almost exclusively male cast, the other is almost exclusively female-lead. Both could be considered as the directors’ proud offspring. Day 9 of the competition, where the ladies give their touch to one of the most macho-genre in cinema, please welcome Western, and The Beguiled.
I might move Steven Universe review into next week so that I can squeeze 2 posts for this project this weekend (it also has to do with Steven Universe’s first season is 50 episode long), because I’m thrilled to after Day 8. Day 8 will remain as one of the highlights of this 2018 Women’s Cinema Festie. Not only both films are fantastic, they’re examples of arthouse female directors at the top of their game who don’t afraid take risk and demand the viewers’ attention, resulting in films with unique voice. Both films are character study of sort. Both films rely more on visual sense than linear narrative approach. Both films are haunting and beautiful at the same time. Two films from Day 8, I present you: On Body and Soul and You Were Never Really Here
At long last, here’s your coverage of Day 7 of 2018 Women’s Cinema. Day 7 is the day to celebrate Claire Denis. Also, if you look up there in the menu bar, you will see a new section at the corner named…ahem… Directors’ Corner. I intend to go through some certain directors’ filmography after this project so I’ll put those under this new tag. Now, let’s move on to Day 7:
I’m still alive, guys and welcome back to Day 6 of this festival. If I could group this two films in a general sense, it is that both Kathryn Bigelow and Kirsten Tan are the most comfortable when they display the uncomfortable sense, Bigelow for the unflinching look of injustice, and Tan for her offbeat tone about her characters in an awkward situation (just imagine, how a wife could talk things out to her husband when he finds out about her dildo). While the two doesn’t necessary share many things in common. Placing the easy-going with a right dose of drama Pop Aye right after a frustrating and don’t-believe-in-people events from Detroit is the right choice to bring back the mood. And what’s better to gain back your mood than an elephant sprinkling water to your face? I’m bringing you Day 6, a night to forget and a road trip to remember.