December 21, 2020-
Gone are the days of treating women like lesser human beings. We are in the era of inclusion and parity and cinema has played a major role in creating dialogues around these topics. Here are a few kickass feminist films that you must watch if you want to be a part of the change:
Kill Bill is a 2 part American martial arts revenge story written and directed by Quentin Tarantino with Uma Thurman in the lead. Thurman stars as the lead character Bride who sets on a journey to take down the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and their leader Bill, who tried to kill her and her unborn child. The film is racy and packed with scenes that showcase the true resilience of the female mind and body. It is an inspiration to be strong against odds and shows that anger is not only for men to exhibit.
Thelma and Louise
Thelma and Louise is an American female buddy road film that has attained the status of a cult classic over the years. Directed by Ridley Scott, this is the story of two friends who embark on a road trip and land in unforeseen circumstances. There are many moments in the film that remind us that most other mainstream films stereotype women. This film is a welcome change compared to them, and it explores female friendship in ways that we have not seen before on screen.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
This is a historical period film that explores the romance between a female painter and an aristocratic woman whose portrait she is commissioned to paint. The visual language of the film is so acutely feminist in its perspective that this film can be called a manifesto on the female gaze in filming. It has stunning landscapes, piercing dialogues, and a love story for all of eternity to remember. Watch it for an experience like none other.
All About My Mother
Pedro Almodovar is a director you must not miss if you like films with strong female protagonists. All About My Mother features complex, resilient women who navigate life with a fire that is unstoppable. Subtle in appearance but steadfast in their decisions, the film explores themes of sexuality, relationships, and the many social stigmas surrounding the choices of women. What unfolds in the course of the story is nothing short of a celebration of female survival skills against all odds.
4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days
This is a film that showcases Romania’s history of negating women’s right to abortion. The film takes an evident pro-choice stand in its narrative. The story revolves around two women, one of who is helping the other to procure an illegal, potentially fatal abortion in clandestine. The film shows how difficult it is for women to exercise their own choices when the entire social and political system forces them to concur to their standards.
Daughters of the Dust
This is the first feature film directed by an African-American woman and theatrically distributed in the United States. Set in 1902, this is the story of three generations of African -American women who finally decide to move to the north of America. The film explores themes of separation, conflict of identity, and how women deal with alienation in regimes where they are a racial minority. Critics and film lovers unanimously refer to this film as one of the most significant pieces of art that feature extraordinary female characters.
A Woman Under The Influence
Mabel is a housewife who is married to a construction worker. She is addicted to alcohol, suffers from mental health issues, and is on the edge. Unlike loud portrayals of women, this is a story of silent strength. Mabel is fragile but now weak. The film explores the monotony and emotional isolation faced by most housewives and how that affects their mental and emotional health. It also explores why men often tend to add to the distress of their wives by being absent physically as well as emotionally.
One Sings, The Other Doesn’t
Agnes Varda is a French director you must not miss. She makes films with strong female characters and explores themes that break stereotypes. This is one of her finest films about two women and their friendship et against the feminist movement in France in the 1970s.
It talks about women and their right to their biological choices. Society often exerts immense pressure on women to confirm and make choices that are convenient for everyone. Agnes paints a complex, relatable picture of how women keep up with such stigmas and yet assert their personalities in their own ways.
The Passion of Joan of Arc
This is a French silent film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. Widely regarded as a landmark in film making, the film was accepted critically by reviewers the world over. The film was shot on one huge concrete set modeled on medieval architecture in order to realistically portray the Rouen prison. The film is known for its cinematography and use of close-ups. A celebration of Joan of Arc’s life, strength, and determination, this is a piece of cinema that you must not miss.
The Kids Are All Right
Most of the mainstream cinema has treated lesbian relationships as something unnatural or sensational. This is a film that has an understated take on a lesbian relationship. It features a married lesbian couple raising their kids together. The film is a comedy that brings forth the conditioning around same-sex marriages in a light yet poignant manner. Filled with brilliant performances, a beautiful background score, and a very subtle sense of strength, this is yet another take on strong women who fight odds to make their own choices.