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Women's Studies


Women's Studies



I AM THE REVOLUTION

By Benedetta Argentieri

I AM THE REVOLUTION is an empowering portrait of three determined women in the Middle East who are leading the fight for gender equality and freedom. Politician Selay Ghaffar is one of the most wanted people in the world by the Taliban and yet she still travels through Afghanistan to educate other women about their rights. Rojda Felat is a commander of the Syrian Democratic Army, leading 60,000 troops to defeat ISIS, including freeing their hold on Raqqa and rescuing its people. And Yanar Mohammed, named by the BBC as one of 100 most influential women in the world in 2018, pushes for parliamentary reform in Iraq while running shelters for abused women. Despite battling seemingly overwhelming obstacles, all three women display resilience, bravery and compassion. I AM THE REVOLUTION challenges the images of veiled, silent women in the Middle East and instead reveals the extraordinary strength of women rising up on the front lines to claim their voice and their rights.


DVD (English, Arabic, Kurdish, Pashtun, Color) / 2019 / 72 minutes

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93QUEEN

By Paula Eiselt

93QUEEN follows Rachel "Ruchie" Freier, a no-nonsense Hasidic lawyer and mother of six who is determined to shake up the boys club in her Hasidic community by creating Ezras Nashim, the first all-female ambulance corps in NYC.

In the Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn, EMS corps have long been the province of men. Though the neighborhood is home to the largest volunteer ambulance corps in the world known as Hatzolah, that organization has steadfastly banned women from its ranks. Now Ruchie and an engaging cast of dogged Hasidic women are risking their reputations, and the futures of their children, by taking matters into their own hands to provide dignified emergency medical care to the Hasidic women and girls of Borough Park. In a society where most women don't drive - and a few minutes can mean the difference between life and death - how do female EMTs transport themselves to the scene of an emergency? And how does Ezras Nashim combat a behemoth like Hatzolah, which possesses political clout throughout New York City?

With unprecedented and exclusive access, 93QUEEN follows the formation and launch of Ezras Nashim through the organization's first year on the ground. We witness the highs and lows of creating an organization against incredible odds, as well as the women's struggles to "have it all" as wives and mothers. And in the midst of this already ground-breaking endeavor, Ruchie announces that she had decided to take her burgeoning feminism even further when she enters the race for civil court judge in Brooklyn's 5th Municipal Court District. Through it all, we see Ruchie and the other women grappling to balance their faith with their nascent feminism, even as they are confronted by the patriarchal attitudes that so dominate Hasidic society. As Ruchie observes, while making dinner at 3 a.m., "I sometimes wonder why God created me a woman. If I'd have been born a Hasidic man, I don't think I would have half the problems I have."


DVD (Color) / 2018 / 90 minutes

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ALONE ON THE ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Director: Paul Goldsmith

Every November, nearly half a million 4th graders read 'Island of The Blue Dolphins.' For many, this is their first real reading experience - their first 'chapter book.' Educators selected this book because it's a very exciting story of survival and empowerment, sort of a female Robinson Crusoe. Overall, almost 10 million copies of the book have been sold.

The book tells the story of a 12 year-old Nicoleno Native American who was left alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island, the most remote of California's Channel Islands, during the 19th century. The 'Lone Woman' survived with her dog for 18 years before being 'rescued' and brought to Santa Barbara. She died there and is buried in the Santa Barbara Mission.

The true story that inspired the book is even more extraordinary then the fictionalized retelling. There has never been a documentary that goes out to the island, visits the Lone Woman's campsite and cave, includes an interview with now deceased author Scott O'Dell, and visually captures the adventure that she experienced all those years ago. Alone on the Island of the Blue Dolphins does this.


DVD / 2018 / 58 minutes

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BEFORE HOMOSEXUALS

Director: John Scagliotti

John Scagliotti, executive producer of the landmark film Before Stonewall, here guides us in a wondrous tour of erotic history, poetry and visual art in his new documentary on same-sex desire - from ancient times to Victorian crimes.

Traveling all over the world and talking with dozens of experts, he revels in lesbian love spells from ancient Rome, censored chapters of the Kamasutra, Native American two-spirit rituals and much more. A prequel to Before Stonewall, Before Homosexuals unearths the diverse and fascinating garden of human same-sexual desire.


DVD / 2018 / 87 minutes

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BIRTH ON THE BORDER

By Ellie Lobovits

This intimate and personal documentary follows two women from Ciudad Juarez as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border legally to give birth in Texas, putting their hearts and bodies on the line as they confront harassment at the hands of U.S. border officials.

One million people legally cross the U.S.-Mexico border every day in both directions. Among them are women who cross for the purposes of childbirth. With the threat of obstetrical violence in Mexican hospitals and the desire for natural birth with midwives, Gaby and Luisa make the difficult decision to cross the border to El Paso, seeking a safer future for their children. Even with papers, their journeys are uncertain.

Against the backdrop of oppressive U.S. border policy and growing debates over immigration, these women's stories of risk, strength, and resilience shed light on the realities and challenges of life on the border.


DVD (English, Spanish, Color, Closed Captioned) / 2018 / 28 minutes

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BRIDGE MASTER'S DAUGHTER, THE

Directors: Matthew Leahy & Elisa Stone

In the remote Andean highlands of Peru, Victoriano Arisapana cares for the woven footbridge that has stretched over the gorge for hundreds of years. The secrets of this bridge, the only one left from the ancient Incan empire, have been passed down by the men of Victoriano's family for 300 years. Victoriano is the Bridge Master, the one who has inherited the sacred task of weaving the bridge and of making the sacrificial offerings to the mountain spirits each year. Like his father before him, he has begun to pass on these secrets to his children.

The children in these villages walk for miles each day to reach their school, where they are given glimpses of another world, far from the adobe huts of their families. And when they reach their final year, these students each make their own choice: whether they will remain in their close-knit but very primitive communities, or whether they will follow the possibilities that await in the city.

Among those who face these crossroads are Vidal, Yuri, and Laurita, the children of the Bridge Master. To stay is to embrace a rich culture and an honored heritage, but the price is a difficult, arduous future. To go could mean a whole world of financial, relational and personal fulfillment, but Victoriano, the last Bridge Master, would be left alone.


DVD (Spanish with English Subtitles) / 2018 / 81 minutes

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CHEZ JOLIE COIFFURE

Directed by Rosine Mbakam

Sabine attaches a hair weave and gets to work. Her hands move quickly and precisely, as she tightly braids the hair in front of the sign in her salon promising African, European, and American-style coiffure. Sabine is a larger than-life personality crammed into a tiny, glassed-in shop in the largely immigrant Brussels district of Matonge. Here, she and her employees fit extensions and glue on lashes while watching soaps, dishing romantic advice, sharing rumors about government programs to legalize migrants, and talking about people back home in West Africa.

At the start of CHEZ JOLIE COIFFURE, filmmaker Rosine Mbakam stands outside the salon, filming. Sabine calls her in, warning her it's unsafe out in hallway of the cramped urban mall. Mbakam sets up in the shop - and stays, filming over the course of a year, becoming a regular fixture and presence. This cinematic "chamber piece" takes place entirely inside the tiny salon, seemingly not much larger than a take-out stand, making skillful use of its many mirrors.

More than a place for women to get their hair done, Jolie Coiffure serves as a community hub for West African women - many from Cameroon, like Sabine. Fueled by endless cans of soda and cups of McDonald's coffee, she recruits for a tontine - an investment scheme paying each member a yearly annuity, organizes accommodation for a pregnant woman who lacks immigration papers, and, in quieter, more introspective moments, tells her own harrowing journey to Belgium after working as a domestic under terrible conditions in Lebanon.

Though she has created a home in her own space, Sabine remains an outsider in Belgium. Students and tourist groups made up only of white people walk past, pausing at the window and gawking. (At one point, Sabine urges Mbakam to turn her camera on them so they'll go away; the director obliges.) When word has it that the immigration police are coming through, she hurriedly turns off all the lights and quickly vanishes out the door.

CHEZ JOLIE COIFFURE is a highly revealing documentary, capturing the day-to-day lives and concerns of immigrant West African women in a space they can call their own.


DVD (French with English Subtitles, Color) / 2018 / 70 minutes

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COUNCILWOMAN

By Margo Guernsey

COUNCILWOMAN is the inspiring story of Carmen Castillo, an immigrant Dominican housekeeper in a Providence hotel who wins a seat in City Council, taking her advocacy for low-income workers from the margins to city politics.

The film follows Castillo's first term as she balances her full-time day job as a housekeeper with her family life and the demands of public office. She faces skeptics who say she doesn't have the education to govern, the power of corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a $15 hourly wage, and a tough re-election against two contenders. As Castillo battles personal setbacks and deep-rooted notions of who is qualified to run for political office, she fiercely defends her vision of a society in which all people can earn enough to support themselves and their families.

An eye-opening look at entrenched power in American democracy, COUNCILWOMAN is essential viewing for Latinx, Immigrant, Political Science and Labor Studies courses.


DVD (English, Spanish, Color) / 2018 / 57 minutes

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FEELING OF BEING WATCHED, THE

By Assia Boundaoui

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where journalist and filmmaker Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counter terrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named "Operation Vulgar Betrayal."

With unprecedented access, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker's examination of why her community-including her own family-fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened and takes the FBI to federal court to compel them to make the records they collected about her community public. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI's relationship to her community.

THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.


DVD (Color) / 2018 / 87 minutes

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HOME TRUTH

By April Hayes and Katia Maguire

Filmed over the course of nine years, HOME TRUTH chronicles one family's pursuit of justice, shedding light on how our society responds to domestic violence and how the trauma from domestic violence tragedies can linger throughout generations.

In 1999, Colorado mother Jessica Gonzales experienced every parent's worst nightmare when her three young daughters were killed after being abducted by their father in violation of a domestic violence restraining order. Devastated, Jessica sued her local police department for failing to adequately enforce her restraining order despite her repeated calls for help that night. Determined to make sure her daughters did not die in vain, Jessica pursued her case to the US Supreme Court and an international human rights tribunal, seeking to strengthen legal rights for domestic violence victims. When her legal journey finally achieved widespread national change and she became an acclaimed activist, Jessica struggled to put her life and relationships back together.


DVD (Color) / 2018 / 72 minutes

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JAMILIA

By Aminatou Echard

This mesmerizing film, shot in Kyrgyzstan on richly saturated Super-8 footage, is a search for Jamilia, the title character in that country's famous novel by Chinghiz Aitmatov, about a young woman who rebels against the strict rules of her society.

Over the course of its haunting narrative, director Aminatou Echard introduces contemporary Kyrgyz women who, in talking about this literary heroine, reveal their own private lives and desires, the social rules they chafe under and their ideas of freedom.

Jamilia portrays Kyrgyzstan through the prism of these women's stories. They describe what their lives are like in a country where the patriarchal system may see them kidnapped by would-be suitors, and curbs their freedom to work, desire, love, live and dream.

Jamilia lets the women speak for themselves - about resistance and the freedom they find in unexpected places, despite the restraints and limitations imposed upon them. With dreamy pacing and a shifting relationship to time, the film gives viewers access to its subjects' desire for adventure, rebellion, independence and sensuality.


DVD (Kyrgistan, Russian, Uzbek, English, With English Subtitles, Color, Closed Captioned) / 2018 / 84 minutes

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MARCELINE. A WOMAN. A CENTURY

By Cordelia Dvorak

MARCELINE. A WOMAN. A CENTURY is a fascinating portrait of the persevering French filmmaker, writer, and Holocaust survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens (1928-2018).

Marceline was only 15 when both she and her father, a Polish Jew from Lodz, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She survived but her father didn't, and Marceline had to find radical and unconventional ways to heal after the tragedies of the war. In 1961, she appeared in Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin's landmark film Chronicle of a Summer, which gave birth to the term cinema verite. Later she married the legendary Dutch documentary director Joris Ivens, traveled with him to Vietnam, and co-directed films such as 17th Parallel: Vietnam in War (1968) and How Yukong Moved the Mountains (1976).

Filmed as she was nearing 90 years old and living in Paris, MARCELINE. A WOMAN. A CENTURY spans the broad arc of her life from Holocaust survivor to political activist to combatively critical filmmaker. Looking back on the momentous events she experienced and filmed such as the Algerian and Vietnam Wars and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, MARCELINE is a thought-provoking chronicle of a remarkable witness of the 20th century.


DVD (French, Color, Closed Captioned) / 2018 / 58 minutes

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PRIMAS

By Laura Bari

PRIMAS is an evocative and poetic portrait of two Argentine teenage cousins who come of age together as they overcome the heinous acts of violence that interrupted their childhoods.

When Rocio was 10 years old, she was dragged from her bike by a stranger, raped, set on fire and left for dead. Now a teenager, she still grapples with memories of the nightmarish assault that left her body scarred. Together with her cousin Aldana, who was sexually abused for years by her own father, she lives, laughs and shares her story. Traveling through Argentina and Montreal, the two cousins embark upon a program of theater, dance, and circus that helps them process complex emotions. Little by little, they manage to rebuild the lives that were so brutally stolen from them and free themselves from the shadows of their past. A humanistic exploration of familial love, creativity, and courage in the wake of sexual violence, PRIMAS is a moving tribute to the deep strength of resilient women.


DVD (Color, Spanish) / 2018 / 95 minutes

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REST I MAKE UP, THE

By Michelle Memran

The visionary Cuban-American dramatist and educator Maria Irene Fornes spent her career constructing astonishing worlds onstage and teaching countless students how to connect with their imaginations. When she gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignites her spontaneous creative spirit and triggers a decade-long collaboration that picks up where the pen left off.

The duo travels from New York to Havana, Miami to Seattle, exploring the playwright's remembered past and their shared present. Theater luminaries such as Edward Albee, Ellen Stewart, Lanford Wilson, and others weigh in on Fornes's important contributions. What began as an accidental collaboration becomes a story of love, creativity, and connection that persists even in the face of forgetting.


DVD (Color) / 2018 / 79 minutes

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TO A MORE PERFECT UNION: U.S. V. WINDSOR

Director: Donna Zaccaro

To A More Perfect Union: U.S. v. Windsor tells a story of love, marriage and a fight for equality. The film chronicles two unlikely heroes, octogenarian Edie Windsor and her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, on their quest for justice: Edie had been forced to pay a huge estate tax bill upon the death of her spouse because the federal government denied federal benefits to same-sex couples...and Edie's spouse was a woman.

Deeply offended by this lack of recognition of her 40+ year relationship with the love of her life, Edie decided to sue the United States government - and won. Beyond the story of this pivotal case in the marriage equality movement, the film also tells the story of our journey as a people, as a culture, and as citizens with equal rights.

Windsor and Kaplan's legal and personal journeys are told in their own words, and through interviews with others, including Lillian Faderman, a leading scholar on LGBTQ history, and Evan Wolfson, who first at Lambda Legal and later as founder of Freedom to Marry was the godfather of marriage equality in the US and now worldwide. Legal observers, including Jeffrey Toobin from CNN and Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio, also lend their insights.


DVD / 2018 / 63 minutes

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YOURS IN SISTERHOOD

By Irene Lusztig

YOURS IN SISTERHOOD is a performative, participatory documentary inspired by the breadth and complexity of letters that were sent in the 1970s to the editor of Ms.- America's first mainstream feminist magazine. The film documents hundreds of strangers from around the U.S. who were invited to read aloud and respond to these letters written by women, men and children from diverse backgrounds. Collectively, the letters feel like an encyclopedia of both the 70s and the women's movement- an almost literal invocation of the second-wave feminist slogan "the personal is political." The intimate, provocative, and sometimes heartbreaking conversations that emerge from these performances invite viewers to think about the past, present, and future of feminism.


DVD (Color) / 2018 / 101 minutes

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BREAST ARCHIVES, THE

Director: Meagan Murphy

Real women reveal their breasts and uncover personal truths in this gently provocative documentary exploring embodiment, womanhood, and the power of being seen.

The Breast Archives features nine women's personal stories of empowerment. Baring their breasts and their hearts, the women share the unique journeys they've made with their bodies, from their formative years of hiding, shame, and disconnection to adulthood and the discovery of what it means to be a powerful woman. As the women slowly reconnect with their body-based stories they find a reservoir of strength and wisdom that lies within their breasts.


DVD / 2017 / 57 minutes

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DONNA HARAWAY: STORY TELLING FOR EARTHLY SURVIVAL

By Fabrizio Terranova

Feminist thinker and historian of science Donna Haraway is perhaps best known as the author of two revolutionary works: the essay "A Cyborg Manifesto" and the book Primate Visions. Both set out to upend well-established "common sense" categories: breaking down the boundaries among humans, animals, and machines while challenging gender essentialism and questioning the underlying assumptions of humanity's fascination with primates through a post-colonial lens.

DONNA HARAWAY: STORY TELLING FOR EARTHLY SURVIVAL features Haraway in a playful and engaging exploration of her life, influences, and ideas. Haraway is a passionate and discursive storyteller, and the film is structured around a series of discussions held in the California home she helped build by hand, on subjects including the capitalism and the anthropocene (a term she "uses but finds troubling"), science fiction writing as philosophical text, unconventional marital and sexual partnerships, the role of Catholicism in her upbringing, humans and dogs, the suppression of women's writing, the surprisingly fascinating history of orthodontic aesthetics, and the need for new post-colonial and post-patriarchal narratives. It is a remarkably impressive range, from a thinker with a nimble and curious mind.

Haraway and filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova (who we hear but don't see) are clearly at ease with each other, giving the conversations - which are punctuated by images of artwork and quirky animation - a casual, intimate feel. Terranova makes playful use of green screens to illustrate Haraway's words, or to comment on them. As Haraway discusses storytelling, we see an image of her in the background, writing. When the conversation turns to her own unorthodox personal relationships and the oppressive power of heteronormativity, the redwoods out her window are replaced by a crisp suburban street. Underwater invertebrates, one of Haraway's fascinations, float by in the background of a room.

DONNA HARAWAY: STORY TELLING FOR EARTHLY SURVIVAL is a clever and insightful glimpse into the thought of a major contemporary figure.


DVD (English; French With English Subtitles, Color, Black and White, Closed Captioned) / 2017 / 81 minutes

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GEEK GIRLS

By Gina Hara

Nerdy women - the "hidden half" of fan culture - open up about their lives in the world of conventions, video games, and other rife-with-misogyny pop culture touchstones. While geek communities have recently risen to prominence, very little attention is paid to geek women. Filmmaker Gina Hara, struggling with her own geek identity, explores the issue with a cast of women who live geek life up to the hilt: A feminist geek blogger, a convention-trotting cosplayer, a professional gamer, a video-game designer, and a NASA engineer. Through their personal experiences in the rich cultural explosion of nerdom, GEEK GIRLS shows both the exhilaration of newfound community and the ennui of being ostracized. These women, striving in their respective professions and passions, face the cyberbullying, harassment, and sexism that permeate the culture and the industry at large. A rich conversation-starter for any class on Pop Culture and Feminism.


DVD (Color) / 2017 / 83 minutes

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HAPPY HOUR

By Ryusuke Hamaguchi

A powerful affirmation of the immersive potential of cinema. HAPPY HOUR is a slow-burning epic chronicling the emotional journey of four thirtysomething women in the misty seaside city of Kobe. As they navigate the unsteady currents of their work, domestic, and romantic lives a sudden, unexpected rift opens between that propels each to a new, richer understanding of life and love. Filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi's wise, precisely observed, compulsively watchable drama of friendship and midlife awakening runs over five hours, yet the leisurely duration is not an indulgence but a strategy to create a novelistic space for everyday moments to become charged with possibility that yields a subtle emotional intensity rarely possible in a standard-length film. HAPPY HOUR is far more than just an ordinary melodrama. It is a spectacularly complex and fiercely poetic rendering of the details of daily life in which ideas and feelings are swayed by the unseen forces of friendship and love and buffeted by the weight of deception, loyalty and tradition.

Winner of awards at major international festivals - including Locarno, where stars Sachie Tanaka, Hazuki Kikuchi, Maiko Mihara and Rira Kawamura shared the Golden Leopard for Best Actress - HAPPY HOUR has brought new attention to the work and career of one of Japan's most talented young directors.


DVD (Japanese, With English Subtitles) / 2017 / 317 minutes

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MADEMOISELLE PARADIS

Director: Barbara Albert

Set in 18th century Vienna, this is the true story of Maria Theresia von Paradis, a gifted piano player and close friend of Mozart, who lost her eye-sight as a child. Desperate to cure their talented daughter, the Paradis entrust Maria to Dr. Mesmer, a forward-thinking-physician who gives her the care and attention that she requires. With the doctor's innovative techniques of magnetism, Maria slowly recovers her sight. But this miracle comes at a price as the woman progressively starts to lose her gift for music. Faced with a heavy dilemma, Mademoiselle Paradis will have to choose: an ordinary life in the light or an extraordinary life in darkness, as a virtuoso.


DVD (German & French with English subtitles) / 2017 / 97 minutes

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TOKYO IDOLS

By Kyoko Miyake

"IDOLS" has fast become a phenomenon in Japan as girl bands and pop music permeate Japanese life. TOKYO IDOLS - an eye-opening film gets at the heart of a cultural phenomenon driven by an obsession with young female sexuality and internet popularity.

This ever growing phenom is told through Rio, a bona fide "Tokyo Idol" who takes us on her journey toward fame. Now meet her "brothers": a group of adult middle aged male super fans (ages 35íV50) who devote their lives to following her-in the virtual world and in real life. Once considered to be on the fringes of society, the "brothers" who gave up salaried jobs to pursue an interest in female idol culture have since blown up and have now become mainstream via the internet, illuminating the growing disconnect between men and women in hypermodern societies.

With her provocative look into the Japanese pop music industry and its focus on traditional beauty ideals, filmmaker Kyoko Miyake confronts the nature of gender power dynamics at work. As the female idols become younger and younger, Miyake offers a critique on the veil of internet fame and the new terms of engagement that are now playing out IRL around the globe.


DVD (English, Japanese, Color) / 2017 / 88 minutes

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TRACKING EDITH

Director: Peter Stephan Jungk

When she wasn't working as a Soviet agent, she was taking photos of workers and street children in Vienna and London, documenting poverty and social deprivation. Being a secret agent doesn't seem to have come naturally to the photographer Edith Tudor-Hart. But she did manage to recruit Kim Philby, and act as one of the architects of the Cambridge Five, the Soviet Union's most successful spy ring in Great Britain.

Edith was director Peter Stephan Jungk's great aunt, his mother's cousin; in Tracking Edith he tries to unravel the truth about his great aunt's life - a spy with a conscience and hidden family secrets.


DVD / 2017 / 92 minutes

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WIDOWED WITCH, THE

By Cai Chengjie

Winner of the top prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival, director Cai Chengjie's debut feature is, like its titular protagonist, defiantly low-fi, unexpectedly powerful and fiercely unpredictable.

Deemed cursed by the local villagers, three-time widow Er Hao (played by Tian Tian) has her hands full with a rogue fireworks explosion, a tagalong teenager, and a veritable army of crazed local men who can't keep their hands off her. Turned away when she seeks shelter from her neighbors and forced to take up residence in a cold camper van, Er Hao's future looks as bleak as the stark, snowy countryside.

But a series of fluke changes in fortune causes Er Hao to embrace the mystical identity her villagers have assigned to her. As a sort of modern shaman, she steers superstitions into small subversions, helping others who once shunned her and proving that to survive as a woman is a kind of magic.

THE WIDOWED WITCH fearlessly addresses the power of religion in China which, according to the dictates of Communism, is effectively banned. It also conveys the cruelty that can come with village life, and counters the Western narrative of China as a superpower by showing a place where the rule of law is all but nonexistent. Not only is there no recourse or safety net, even the rape that Er Hao suffers goes unpunished. Abused and shunned, Er Hao gains power over the men who have wronged her - but can she find a place in a misogynist, patriarchal and deeply lonely social structure?

With a stunning array of visual styles and a genre-exploding approach to storytelling, THE WIDOWED WITCH is a simultaneously idealistic and despairing film - a bleak view wrapped in a fabulist aesthetic, and one that encompasses both magic realism and crushing social satire.


DVD (Mandarin with English Subtitles, Color, Black and White) / 2017 / 118 minutes

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TWO FACES OF A BAMILEKE WOMAN, THE

By Rosine Mbakam

Rosine Mbakam left Cameroon at 27 to live in Belgium. Seven years later-having studied film and married a European-she returns, accompanied by her son. Motivated by a desire to better understand her past and the place she grew up, Rosine is nonetheless surprised by the revelations her mother and other women make in startlingly intimate conversations.

THE TWO FACES OF A BAMILEKE WOMAN opens with Rosine making what she calls a journey into darkness-to the village of her birth, and later to the capital city of Yaounde, where her mother now lives most of the year. In the village of Tonga, her mother, Ma Breh, shares memories of the horrors of the war against French colonizers, and of daily life for a Cameroonian woman in an arranged marriage-a fate Rosine herself barely escaped, leaving the family of an angry ex-fiance behind.

Rosine accompanies her mother, aunts, and other women while they go about daily tasks: cooking fish, serving kokistew to a crowd, and selling goods at a thriving market stall. Like many immigrants, she finds herself distant from her home country, yet drawn to its rituals and memories. She goes through a dusty suitcase of her late father's documents, asks if she has damaged family traditions by marrying a white man, teaches her son to say "I love you grandma" in Bamikele, and asks her mother to do a traditional post-birth ritual several years after the fact.

As she spends more time with her mother and the women around her, Rosine reveals the strength of their solidarity and their ability to face adversity-whether hiding for their lives from French soldiers or being committed to a man for marriage at age eight. This world of women's work and women's struggles is one that surrounded her in her early years, but she couldn't recognize it-or its complexity-until she had been away from the social structures of her country.

THE TWO FACES OF A BAMILEKE WOMAN is a sharply observed, nuanced and powerful feature documentary debut that captures the relationship between a woman and her mother-and subtly expresses the dislocation of emigration.


DVD (French, Bamileke, With English Subtitles, Color) / 2016 / 76 minutes

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