The Women Make Waves Film Festival (女性影展) celebrates its 20th anniversary by revisiting past classics and highlighting works of new talents with an expanded lineup of 90 fictional, documentary, experimental, animated and short films by female directors from around the world.
Festival director Pecha Lo (羅珮嘉) says the most important aspect of her work this year is to re-examine what the festival has accomplished over the past two decades and introduce young festival-goers to its history, while reflecting on the event’s current direction and future possibilities.
“I think the Women Make Waves has positioned itself as a film festival aiming not to please the crowd but to challenge audiences, both in terms of the issues and topics it raises and the cinematic aesthetics and styles it explores,” Lo says.
Twelve memorable works shown in previous editions are revived at the WMW Deja Vu section, including a series of experimental shorts by Taiwan-born queer artist and self-styled digital drifter Cheang Shu-lea (鄭淑麗), as well as Marguerite Duras’ aesthetically challenging India Song (1975), based on the script of the same title by the late French writer and filmmaker.
Agnes Varda, who has been closely associated with French intellectual contemporaries such as Chris Marker, Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet, makes a comeback with her 1977 feature, One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, which looks at the women’s liberation movement in France during the 1960s and 1970s through an intimate portrait of a female friendship over a 15-year period. Vera Chytilova, an avant-garde director and key figure of the Czech New Wave, is selected for her 1998 Traps, a feminist comedy about rape and women’s revenge.
What: The 20th Women Make Waves Film Festival Taiwan (第20屆台灣國際女性影展)
When: Today through Oct. 20
Where: Spot Huashan Cinema (光點華山電影館), 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號)
Admission: Tickets are NT$170 for weekday matinee screenings, NT$200 for weekday evening and weekend screenings, available through 7-Eleven ibon, FamilyMart (全家) FamiPort and Hi-Life (萊爾富) Life-ET kiosks, ERA ticket outlets and at www.ticket.com.tw
On the Net: www.wmw.com.tw
Meanwhile, the “porn versus feminist” debate is revisited in The Naked Feminist, a documentary that looks at feminism and female empowerment in the pornography industry through a series of interviews with porn stars, feminists and academics.
Looking ahead, this year’s Women Make Waves also features works by up-and-coming female directors. Keep Smiling, for example, is a debut feature by Georgian Rusudan Chkonia. A comedy-drama about 10 desperate housewives entering a beauty contest in the hopes of winning a coveted apartment and a US$25,000 cash prize, the film was selected as the Georgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards.
From Brazil, young filmmaker Petra Costa’s first feature-length documentary, Elena, is a work of experimental autobiographical filmmaking through which the director seeks to understand why her older sister, Elena, committed suicide when she was a child.
Other highlights among the works of new talents include Facing Mirrors, reportedly the first movie about transsexuals in Iran, and Two Girls Against the Rain, a documentary short about a lesbian couple who have loved each other since the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. It is also the first ever Cambodian film invited to be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, according to Lo.
The festival’s affinity to the experimental and avant-garde is reflected through works such as Exposed, a documentary that reveals the taboo art form of burlesque by Beth B, who exploded onto the New York underground scene in the late 1970s and is best known as part of that city’s No Wave underground art scene during the same period.