Tue, Oct 01, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Women Make Waves Film Festival picks

By Davina Tham  /  Staff reporter

Iraqi Yazidi activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad is the subject of the documentary On Her Shoulders.

Photo courtesy of Women Make Waves Film Festival

Women Make Waves Film Festival director Pecha Lo (羅珮嘉) and programmer Wang Chun-chi (王君琦) give the Taipei Times their top recommendations from this year’s program.


This year’s opening film is a documentary about Nadia Murad, the Iraqi Yazidi activist who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to end sexual violence as a weapon of war. The documentary focuses not on Murad’s traumatic experiences as a prisoner-of-war of the Islamic State, but on her work to cast an international spotlight on sexual violence after her ordeal. Wang says that the documentary addresses the complications and limitations that arise when people in developing countries turn to the Western, developed world for support.


This German-Italian-Austrian production, screening under the “Gray Dynamics of Love and Hope” section, follows a middle-aged wife and mother who wants out of an unfulfilling marriage. Lo says it was one of the most controversial films seen by the festival’s selection committee, which had long discussions about whether the film’s conclusion sent the right messages about feminism.


This film is a rare work by a group of eight indigenous female Pacific Island filmmakers. In a series of vignettes set in different Pacific nations, each filmmaker explores the relationship of the titular Vai — which means “water” — to her ancestral homeland and traditions. Wang highlights the intersectionality of indigenous and female experiences achieved in the film. Vai screens under the “Original Shouts” section, which presents films by and about indigenous women in Taiwan and around the world.


Infidelity, pregnancy, familial ties and an unfortunate twist of fate inform the tough life choices that Irina has to make. Lo says that this Bulgarian film, also screening under the “Gray Dynamics of Love and Hope” section, questions the neat conclusions we have about a woman’s right to choose.

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