Film Review: ‘Female Perspective Shorts’ at the World of Film International Festival


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Film City Glasgow, 7/10/18 – in association with the World of Film International Festival

The World of Film International Festival is a six year old film festival in Glasgow that seeks to promote global independent film. In 1.5 hours the World of Film International Festival showed their eight shorts centred around the topic of ‘Female Perspectives’. The collection consisted of films between 4 and 36 minutes from the UK, USA, Germany, Greece, Yemen, Thailand, and Japan. The films reflect this diversity in their styles, but not in their moods. Although interesting to watch, this collection does not satisfy its title of ‘Female Perspectives Shorts’.

These eight films deal with serious topics including abuse, death, love, loss, and the invisibility of women, all in diverse ways. However, only five of the films actually follow female characters. These shorts were all dark in their overall mood and left the audience exiting the cinema with distraught expressions. Visually, Yemeni short Photo stands out in the way it portrays a woman’s agencyThe film is structured upon a series of clips and portraits of a man and his wives in burkas. One of the women shows glimpses of her fingers, then her arm, until in the final photograph she triumphantly grins into the camera with her exposed face. This film is a creative exploration with its unique combination of photographs and scenes. While it is humorous, it gives a shocking glimpse into a different culture, and raises questions about the consequences of emancipating women in powerless positions.

Another film that explores a female perspective is the German short Dünnes Eis, which is directed by a man. As aforementioned, only five of the eight films are directed by women, with two directed by men and the remaining one co-directed by a man and woman. The camera follows the protagonist, a homeless woman who has arguably gone insane, living in hallucinations and memories of a past life with a husband. However, for example through the intimate camera work, the film creates empathy for her. 34 Days 18 Hours explores the nuances of romantic relationships, following a man and woman leaving each other voicemails about their past together.

Just like Dünnes Eis, the introductory film Regrets (UK) is visually striking in the way it invokes a reflective look into the past. It deals with sexual and emotional abuse in a thought provoking way, and concerns a mother’s mistaken projection of sexual assault, based on her own experiences, on her husband and daughter.

It is important for film festivals like the WoFF to support international and local female filmmakers. It is disappointing that not all of the films are made by female filmmakers, and even more so that only two storylines truly follow a woman. Despite this, there were elements that I enjoyed; from diverse settings such as the mountains in Indigo Valley, to brutal Japanese humour in Girl Recruits Her God, as well as a dark plot twist in Invisible Murder were some of the highlights. However, I was looking forward to seeing some better representation and left disappointed.

[Leilo Albrecht]

[Image credit: World of Film International Festival]

 

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