2017 Women's Cinema Festival, Women's Cinema

2017 Women’s Cinema Festival – Day 5: Faces Places & The Breadwinner

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Day 5 in this 2017 Women’s Cinema edition, we delve into other cinema mediums that often get overlooked, a documentary and an animated feature. Just a bit of fact but women filmmakers have enjoyed a higher percentage rates in terms of gender ratio then traditional movies. That’s not an encouraging fact, since it furthers suggests that male directors go on the main highroad, while women have to take the side roads. But hopefully they have more freedom to do what they wanna do. We have a documentary from a director who made her first feature about 50 plus years ago and if this film is any indicator, she’s as fresh and inventive as ever. In addition, we have an up and coming indie animation studio who still prefers to tell their stories in traditional hand-drawn style in the world dominant by everything CGI-ed. The young and the old. The past and the present. Sometimes we can’t tell apart. 2 entries of Day 5: Faces Places and The Breadwinner.

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2017 Women's Cinema Festival, Women's Cinema

2017 Women’s Cinema Festival – Day 4: Mudbound & Angels Wear White

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Welcome to Day 4. It’s the day for drama. Two devastating dramas to boost, but doing a damn fine job at that. Both address social issues: one is about the racial tensions in America in the 50s, the other concerns about sexism in a society full of misogyny or simply the lack of proper attention to sexual violation in the opposite side of the globe. “Is it just?” that question could be raised for these two films (and was addressed in one). Indeed, these films ask difficult questions but at the same time they don’t look for answers. They search more for empathy, to put us into the characters’ shoes and make judgement for ourselves. Sounds grim, perhaps, but the mastery in approach of both Dee Rees and Vivian Qu raise these moral complexity materials into compelling drama. Without further ado, enjoy the double-take on DAY 4:

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2017 Women's Cinema Festival, Women's Cinema

2017 Women’s Cinema Festival – Day 3: Summer 1993 & Novitiate

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Day 3 into the 2007’s Women Cinema edition, we have 2 debut films but it couldn’t be more different. On the one hand, Carla Simon’s debut is another fine extension to the two films of Day 1, about young girl who faces harsh reality of life, this time with slice-of-life tone. Putting those three films in that context, however, Summer 1993 stands out as the best. On the other hand, we get to the lives of several young girl in America in training in order to become real nuns. One intentionally hides its emotional core, the other overflows with shouting and confessing their dark inner sides. As different as their approach, however, both films are fine example of films that focus on the grow of young girls, from kids well into their teens. As usual, click on the titles for the individual reviews (which basically more pictures, those reviews will appear in the Review Index section) or just read on. Here I present you, Day 3.

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2017 Women's Cinema Festival, Women's Cinema

2017 Women’s Cinema Festival – Day 2: First They Killed My Father & I Am Not a Witch

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Welcome to Day 2, where we get to the first pair of the Main Competition titles. It’s always my interest to pair the two features that air on the same day as some sort of a companion piece, and here in the Day-by-Day Journal, I’ll discuss about it in details. The two films this time (First They Killed My Father and I Am Not a Witch) share many things in common. They’re stories about young girls who find themselves dragged around in a cruel world that beyond their comprehension. One works as an autobiography drama, the other one works as a bleak comedy. One happens in the specific dark chapter of a country, the other set in a modern day that could very well be decades ago. Both have passive, almost non-expressive child protagonists. This is not a criticism, though, since they’re designed as windows to invite us to their worlds. We follow their every step, and see their worlds through their points of views. Overall, we have two solid films and it’s a great start for this Film Festival. As usual, click on the titles for more formal reviews, or you can just read them down below

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2017 Women's Cinema Festival, Women's Cinema

2017 Women’s Cinema Festival – Day 1: [opening film] The Party

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Let’s officially kicks off this festival. Before writing review for this one, I had been debating on the size I should write for movies. This is my first original movie review after all. I figured that while full reviews would probably help this site better, in the long run the fact of writing full thousand-words reviews for every single one of them would kill me gradually, and I still have blogging commitment at the other anime blog at the moment. So I settle for semi-review for now, that way I could write much faster, get to the points quicker and I can see myself doing it for a long term. In term of frequency, you can expect new post come every 3, or 4 day. On the weekends I can get to blog more often.

The Party, in many ways, serves as a good movie to begin the festival. It has a solid ensemble cast, and it’s an entertaining film to follow from start to finish. It’s my first experience with Sally Potter (and from what I heard this one is her most commercial one), so I’m definitely intrigued to check out more of her filmography. For now, enjoy the review of The Party, you can click on the title link for the more detailed-format review, or just read it down below.

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2017 Women's Cinema Festival, Programs Guide, Women's Cinema

2017 Women’s Cinema Festival Program

The poster’s image is taken from a scene in Chocolate (1988) by Claire Denis, our 2017’s Honorary Recipient. The theme song this year is Me and a Gun by Tori Amos, which you can listen to it right here.

Now, this might be the only time that I will spend entire paragraphs to discuss about the song’s choice. I realize that Me and a Gun isn’t a typical song suitable for playing elegantly in a background (in which theme music tends to be). It has no musical instrument for one thing, it’s just entirely Tori Amos and her voice here and the lyric is among one of the rawest experience ever written by a female artist. This song, after all, details about the event in which she was raped, at knife point when she was 21. In the year where gender issues in cinema industry had turned inside out, this song feels strangely relevant. Apparently, the culprit never gets caught, well it never became a case to begin with, because it’s the world we live in: when it comes to sexual harassment, the majority still doesn’t have the proper mindset to deal with it seriously, and the victims still partly blame themselves for what happened. I just leave you with her rare interview about the tragic event. To thousands of other victims who believe the world has turned its back on you, this song is for you.

I’ll never talk about it at this level again but let me ask you. Why have I survived that kind of night, when other women didn’t? How am I alive to tell you this tale when he was ready to slice me up? In the song I say it was ‘Me and a Gun’ but it wasn’t a gun. It was a knife he had. And the idea was to take me to his friends and cut me up, and he kept telling me that, for hours. And if he hadn’t needed more drugs I would have been just one more news report, where you see the parents grieving for their daughter. And I was singing hymns, as I say in the song, because he told me to. I sang to stay alive. Yet I survived that torture, which left me urinating all over myself and left me paralyzed for years. That’s what that night was all about, mutilation, more than violation through sex. I really do feel as though I was psychologically mutilated that night and that now I’m trying to put the pieces back together again. Through love, not hatred. And through my music. My strength has been to open again, to life, and my victory is the fact that, despite it all, I kept alive my vulnerability.Tori Amos

Next, The Silver Moon presents the 2017 programs, you can either view it by the selections’ posters in airing order, or the list down below

Day 1[opening film] The Party
Day 2First They Killed My FatherI Am Not a Witch
Day 3Summer 1993Novitiate
Day 4MudboundAngels Wear White
Day 5Faces PlacesThe Breadwinner
Day 6DetroitPop Aye
Day 7[Classic Day] ChocolatBeau TravailLet the Sunshine In
Day 8You Were Never Really HereOn Body and Soul
Day 9WesternThe Beguiled
Day 10Lady BirdLove Education
Day 11The Seen and UnseenWajib
Day 12The RiderZama
Day 13[sidebar] Tower. A Bright Day[sidebar] Revenge[sidebar] Ava
Day 14[closing film] Jasper Jones[Awards Winners]

*Notes: despite I put it as “Day”, for obvious reasons (ahem… my real life), this isn’t an actual day that I will cover these films. It’s just merely an order of films in which I will go through, although I’ll use a journal-like daily format for this project: reviewing a pair of movies that played on the same day at once. You’ll know what I mean when I get down to it. The link for each review will be updated here as well.

**Notes: “Surprise” screening(s) because as of now I still don’t know which films I gonna pick (hence it’s a surprise even for myself). The purpose of this sidebar screenings is to pick up 1 or 2 movies I left out that I still feel worth checking out. They won’t compete for the main prizes, except for Best Debut Feature if applicable. Your suggestions have a high chance to feature up there so don’t be shy to recommend me down the comment section.

With the next post, Day 1 in which I will review the opening film The Party is when the festival officially kicks in. A little warming-up before we get down to the Main Competition. See you then, folks.

2017 Women's Cinema Festival, Women's Cinema

2017 Women’s Cinema Festival – The 2017 Selection

I’m proud to announce the first movie project here at Silver Moon, the 2017 Women’s Cinema Festival. 2017 was in many ways a critical year for women in cinema industry with all the allegations regarding sexual harassment, Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo took up all the spotlights for all the right seasons. I don’t intend to delve into those issues, however, we’re here for films and let it stay within what happened in front of the screen.

The basic rundown of this festival is: I will watch, review and rate all those films from the Official Selection, then give them awards at the end of the festival’s run. After weeks of checking and compiling the titles, debating over which films I should include, here are the 20 films that will complete in the 2017 Main Competition, plus 2 films that serve as Opening and Closing Films. You can check out the selection down below, sorted by their English titles, in alphabetical order:

  2017  
MoviePosterDirectorCountry
OpeningThe PartySally PotterUK
ClosingJasper Jones Rachel PerkinsAUS
1Angels Wear WhiteVivian QuCHN
2The BeguiledSofia CoppolaUSA
3The BreadwinnerNora TwomeyIRL
4DetroitKathryn BigelowUSA
5Faces PlacesAgnès VardaFRA
6First They Killed My FatherAngelina JolieCAM
7I am Not a WitchRungano Nyoni*ZAM
8Lady BirdGreta Gerwig*USA
9Love EducationSylvia ChangTPE
10MudboundDee ReesUSA
11NovitiateMaggie Betts*USA
12On Body and SoulIldikó EnyedHUN
13Pop AyeKirsten Tan*SIN
14The RiderChloé ZhaoUSA
15The Seen and the UnseenKamila AndiniINA
16Summer 1993Carla Simón*ESP
17WajibAnnemarie JacirPAL
18WesternValeska GrisebachGER
19You Were Never Really HereLynne RamsayUK
20Zama Lucrecia MartelARG
ClassicChocolatClaire Denis1988
Beau TravailClaire Denis1999
Let the Sunshine InClaire Denis2017

With special mention to those titles, which just missed the final cut: Hikari (Naomi Kawase – I’ll watch it when I get to 2017 Cannes); Berlin Syndrome (Cate Shortland), Ava (Sadaf Foroughi), Plonger (Mélanie Laurent) and Spoor (Agnieszka Holland)

*: debut films

Small notes: the reason I decided to link the films to Letterboxd, and not imdb and the likes, is that you would gaze immediately to the average score (I know I would), and that’s the last thing I want you to do.

There are 5 first time directors that will compete in the Main Selection. I’m happy that the selection conveys wide range of genres from many different regions there, especially a special shout-out for South East Asia crops which have 3 films that are set there (First They Kill My Father, an USA-production but from Cambodia girl’s perspective, Pop Aye from Singapore set in Thailand and The Seen and Unseen from Indonesia). I’ve seen 4 films out of the Main Competition (The Beguiled, Detroit, On Body and Soul and Lady Bird, plus Jasper Jones in the Closing Film), which is to say barely nothing, so I’m excited to check out all those titles.

Personally, the films I’m looking forward the most are You Were Never Really Here and Zama, long-awaited projects from acclaimed directors. The latter, especially, had been on my radar since its first announcement back in probably 2012, 2013. It went quiet for a good few years, passed out many Cannes’s years which I naively assumed would appear there. Then last year, it finally appeared in Venice, not in the Main Competition but in a Special Screening slot (!) which basically baffled me to this day. Sometimes, life just doesn’t make a goddamn sense.

Honorary Award:

The 2017 Honorary Award – to celebrate a legendary women director who leaves/ left her distinctive voice the medium (or in Academy words” to honor exceptional career achievements, contributions to the motion picture industry and/or women’s cinema) – is proud to present to Claire Denis, a great French filmmaker (there will be an in-depth look at her works and styles in the program) and three of her films (her debut Chocolat, her masterpiece Beau Travail, and her most recent Let the Sunshine In) will be covered in this festival as well

Over this weekend, I’ll publish 2017 Women’s Cinema Festival Program, which will include the festival’s poster (it’ll be fun; but consider that I have zero skill regarding graphic design, be easy on me, folks), the festival’s theme song and the full schedule. Even if there were two of you who read this blog (I’m being generous), I’d love to hear what your thoughts on this line-up and if there’s any other films that you think I should include. See you then.