10/16—10/25 Shin Kong Cineplex：2009 Women Make Waves Film Festival Opening Let us roam in the boundless feminist impressions
By Ting Ging Yu (2009 Women Make Waves Film Festival Director)
The 2009 Women Make Waves Film Festival is in its 16th year. There are nearly 60 foreign and domestic visual creations in this year’s screening. The films are categorized in 5 themes. We try to present films with new inspirations, feminist subjects and innovative visual values.
New Currents in Women’s Cinema
In the New Currents theme, Indonesian film “Fiksi” uses a rare horror film style, along with magical and wild cinematic language to bring together exquisite mise-en-scene and unique colours textures of Southeast Asia.
“Begging Naked” documents the survival of Elise, a brave and exceptional homeless woman in New York. While working as a stripper, she keeps pursuing her own artistic creativity. The film leads the audience into this woman’s life and breaks stigma of the sex industry.
Director in Focus: Julie Dash
In this theme, six films directed by Julie Dash will be screened in the Festival. Julie Dash is acknowledged as the most important contemporary African-American female director. This year, the festival will present a body of her works to the audience of Taiwan. Her film “Daughters Of The Dust” is this year’s opening film. This film is not only a timeless classic for portraying the African-American heritage in the U.S. but its unique perspective is also crucial for discussion of representation and feminism. The marvellous mise-en-scene in the film depicts race, culture, and motherhood of African-American community with profound care and emotion. The gorgeous visual aesthetics and fantastic images portray the longing and sense of belonging for African-American women towards their land and roots.
”The Rosa Parks Story” tells the real life story of the human’s rights activist -Rosa Parks. During her time in the 50s, there were many discriminating laws against black people. One of such laws states that black people must sit at the back of the bus. This law of inequality is infuriating in the eyes of Rosa Parks who works in a law related profession. Parks stands up against the law and ignited the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. To make this film, Julie Dash interviewed Rosa and truthfully depicted all the small details that are rarely seen in the grand-narrative of Civil Rights Movement.
Women in Diaspora: Journeys Before Home
This theme emphasizes women’s migration process no matter by will or forced and how they cope with the development and rebuilding of homes. The word “Diaspora” insinuates the contradictory emotion of returning to roots / extermination of roots. The closing films of the festival “Half-Life” and “Yours Truly, Miss Chinatown” are films that visually reconstruct how Asian American women face their tradition, nationality, and identity. “Half-Life” mixes animation and realist narrative style. The film’s delicate composition, colour, and visual texture render unique film aesthetic and narration. Several parallel storylines and a love triangle between the characters express danger and lust which make the story develop with abundance and rhythm.
“Yours Truly, Miss Chinatown” documents the eventful process of a beauty contest. Within 4 years of documentation, the film leads the audience into the inner world of every contestant. The film interestingly portrays the contradictory values within the Chinese community in the United States, including the conflicts between the elder, more conservative, traditional generation and the new generation who has different views and experiences regarding to their identity and race.
The Art of Breaking Up!
“The Art of Breaking Up!” is a theme especially dedicated to the younger festivalgoers who might be having a crush or pursuing the other sex (or the same sex), or just experiencing their first break-up. The protagonist of “Nothing Else Matters” runs away from home to study fashion design in Lyon, France. This is a film about a journey to pursue a dream; it is also a film about an unwanted pregnancy. With a refreshing French Cinematic language, the film acutely depicts the social issue of family welfare.
“Night Owls” is a film about a break-up. In the film’s story, although there are mundane yet common elements, the main actress has a unique and detailed grasp of the character’s emotions. The film has also an innovative Czech Cinema style, a must-see for young couples.
New Estrogen Currents from Taiwan Cinema
In all the Taiwan films this year, the festival’s opening film “Wave Breaker” is definitely the leader of the pack. The film uses an obscure and introverted style to depict how a mother provides the strongest and effective protection in the journey of life to a child with a fatal disease. In the subject of life and death, it is a masterpiece that debates the balance of life with a dramatic style, and concretely displays thought provoking reflection.
“E. SHA Age” is this year’s closing film. The film documents the legendary E. SHA musical group. With the renowned Mi’s brilliant and flamboyant performance, “E. SHA Age” relives that everlasting musical era.
“With or Without You” and “Women’s Light Shines On” are films worth recommending. The former is a narrative describing oriental tradition and rituals. It is a comedy about a mother who does not want her memorial tablet to be placed together with her husband after she dies. Life and death apart, how will the daughter fulfill her mother’s dying wish, and thus an unknown inter-dimensional comedy unveils.
In the format of documentary films, “Women’s Light Shines On” directly examines how women’s memorial tablets are never placed with those of the ancestors. It also criticizes the struggle between feminist intellectuals and the foundation of traditional patriarchy. It is a rare domestic film that displays feminist awareness and influence.