Underwire, the UK’s largest film festival dedicated solely to screening the work of talented women, targets the gender disparity apparent in the British film industry. Founded in 2010, Gabriella Apicella and Gemma Mitchell have created a wonderful celebration of work, simultaneously addressing issues of sexism and showcasing female work in a welcoming, socially-aware environment. I wrote about some of my favourite shorts showcased at the recent event.
From the initial Netflix description of Mike Flanagan’s latest film, you’d be forgiven for assuming Gerald’s Game is merely a second-rate horror flick to be avoided. But don’t let bad marketing fool you into missing out on a brilliant, thought-provoking film. After the quiet critical success of previous releases Hush (2016) and Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016), Flanagan is quickly establishing himself as an important voice in horror, one not to be ignored. His latest venture, a Stephen King adaptation starring Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino, is a feminist gem interrogating topics of womanhood, abuse and trauma in unfamiliar and exciting ways.
Despite the subject of domestic abuse becoming increasingly common as a component of TV shows, especially in soap dramas on British television, it rarely features as central to the narrative. However, in the new American show Big Little Lies (based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name), it is integral to the plot. Through an in-depth study of physical and emotional abuse between two characters, played by big-budget film stars Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård, the show targets a range of issues apparent in abusive relationships rarely explored to this extent on TV screens.
I wanted to write an article on the ‘recent revelation’ of Bernardo Bertolucci and Marlon Brando’s treatment of Maria Schneider on the set of Last Tango in Paris (1972). Despite Schneider discussing her experience in 2007, why is it only now being acknowledged by the media as a case of sexual abuse? It’s upsetting proof of how 21st century Hollywood is plagued by rape culture, permeating all levels of the industry.
Whilst studying Indian Melodrama this term, I’ve been watching a selection of Hindi films as research for my forthcoming essay and came across Shoojit Sincar’s gem of a movie on Netflix. Providing audiences with a refreshing perspective on female characters in the form of eponymous lead Piku, it’s both a genuinely funny comedy and a powerful example of feminist cinema.
Contains a few spoilers!
Tate Taylor’s filmic adaptation of Paula Hawkin’s psychological thriller The Girl on the Train fails to translate the importance of the novel’s domestic violence narrative, missing a vital opportunity to confront issues of abuse on the big screen.
Imogen and I recently attended the London Feminist Film Festival’s session on Women’s Bodies as Sites at Rio Cinema; a screening of four documentary shorts regarding the role and perception of women’s bodies in film and other forms of media, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. The experience was really insightful and moving: in particular What Happened to Her (Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, 2016), which provided an important platform amongst the audience for interrogating the repercussions of violence against women on screen.