TIME OF WOMEN

What is women’s cinema? Film scholars have come to the conclusion that it is hard to give a precise definition of this phenomenon. It is neither a genre, nor a movement, it does not have national boundaries or clear-cut aesthetic peculiarities. On the other hand the notion “women’s cinema” is often mentioned in cinematic and political debates, it draws attention at large-scale film festivals: one might recall the march on the 12th of May, 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival, when 82 women paraded along the red carpet demanding a wider representation of films by women directors at the Festival. The number of participants equaled the number of films by female directors screened at the Festival over its 71-year history. The result of the protest, which was covered in all the leading media, was a document, signed by the Festival Art Director Thierry Frémaux, which specified a quota for such films. Gender equality is no longer a mere object of protests, but a reality which is confirmed by programs at other film festivals. For instance 41 per cent of films in the program of the latest Berlin Film Festival were made by women directors.
 
This year the program “Time of Women” at the Moscow IFF is not limited to features alone. Women have always been a prominent force in documentary filmmaking. Facing fierce competition, women hone their style and help construct an image of a woman different from the  voyeuristic one which was dominant in cinema in the patriarchal times and represented women as passive erotic objects in a spectacle. The present intent and politicized look gravitates towards “healthy narcissism” and the study of female psychology, the subtleties of behavior, amorous experience, sexual adventures, suffering, victories, conquests and the desire to overcome the ontological trauma of being a weak and oppressed woman.
 
The cinema of female directors overturns the image of man formed in the past century. It helps to see the world in a totally different light and the growing desire of women to make films offers prospects of correcting our social sight.
 
Angelika Artyukh