Women’s film festival takes a wide perspective

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Women’s film festival takes a wide perspective

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The Seoul Women’s Film Festival kicks off the spring on April 6 at Seoul’s Artreon Theater in Sinchon, under the slogan “See the World through Women’s Eyes.”
Running through April 14, the festival has expanded its selections to include various regions and time periods, stressing films from countries outside of Asia such as Iran and Kenya. The 96 films from 33 countries include feminist documentaries from the 1970s, African films and works by veteran directors like Chantal Akerman, who presents a new film titled “Down There.”
The festival opens with “Sisters in Law,” a documentary by Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi, from England and Cameroon, respectively. The film delves into a group of Cameroon women who are fighting a legal battle against abuse by men.
Special sections titled “African Cinema” and “Feminist Documentary Pioneers” contain some uncommon and obscure works. The former includes films by female African directors from the 1980s to the present. The documentary section is a collection of 12 revolutionary films from the 1960s and 1970s when vocal feminist filmmakers made a series of notable accomplishments in the United States and Europe. These include landmark works such as “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” and “Make Out.”
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“Korean Cinema in Focus” tracks the history of Korean cinema through films starring Korean heart-throb actress Shim Hye-jin, who was big in the mid-1990s. The films show the actress in a variety of roles in “Black Republic,” “Berlin Report,” “Out to the World” and “Green Fish.”
This year’s retrospective is on Marleen Gorris, the well-known director of “Antonia’s Line” and “A Question of Silence.”
A major highlight will be the “New Current” section, which features the latest films by both veteran and rising directors. These include “Down There” by Chantal Akerman and “The Fisherman and His Wife ― Why Women Never Get Enough” by Doris Dorrie. Clever debuts such as “A Way of Life” by Amma Asante and “Three Year Delivery” by Miako Tadano are also on the list.
Related events include a forum titled State and Cultural Powers Surrounding Women’s Reproductivity, which will discuss how women’s bodies are closely linked to national policies. Also, Nicole Fernandez Ferre, director of the Audiovisual Simone de Beauvoir Center, will give a special lecture on French feminist documentaries from the 1970s.
Cafe Femme and Talk to Her are meant to be fun and engaging events where directors and actresses will talk with the audiences.
In case you missed the previous festival, there will be free screenings of formerly popular films every Friday during the month of March at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Seoul Women’s Plaza in Daebangdong, western Seoul. By subway, go to Daebang station, line No. 1, exit 3. For more information about the event, call (02) 810-5032.


by Kong Jun-wan

This year’s festival is at the Artreon Theater. By subway, take line No. 2 to Sinchon station, exit 4. For more information, call (02) 583-3598 or visit www.wffis.or.kr.
Note that the festival will operate a day care center on April 7 to 14 from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Babies are not welcome at screenings. The carerooms for children are run by experienced teachers and volunteers.
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