Celebrating its 20th anniversary, SEOUL International Women’s Film Festival (SIWFF) is proud to present ‘Feminist Film Classics,’ a section composed of feature film directorial debuts made by some of the greatest auteurs in film history. These early films by significant directors, who created masterpieces at some point in their lasting careers in the film industry, will inspire and influence the younger generation of filmmakers and audiences in a new and unforeseen way. Classic film programs are often considered to be a part of rewriting the history of cinema, establishing a pedigree of the films that have been neglected, left undiscovered, and not yet fully understood. Thus, it is and will always be important to take a close look at the films included in classic film programs by putting them in the context of film history or of feminist movement. If we think of university lectures on the history of world cinema, it would not be incorrect to say that in the 120 years of cinema, all that we are familiar with are all about men (What would be the feminine equivalents of the words ‘great master of cinema’ or ‘auteur’?). In this sense, ‘Feminist Film Classics’ will be a meaningful opportunity to discover talented female directors, to level the playing field for them against gender bias in history, and to challenge the existing history and context.
Marilou DIAZ-ABAYA made her directorial debut with Morals alongside the emergence of New Philippine Cinema in the 1970s-80s led by Lino BROCKA and Ishmael BERNAL. In the New Philippine Cinema, women are either under-represented or seen through gender-stereotyped lens, often portrayed as sex workers. Morals is a film about three female friends who maintain solidarity while facing the challenging moral standards imposed on women until they get married after graduating from college—DIAZ-ABAYA once called her film “political and feminist.” Meanwhile, Kate MILLETT’s Three Lives and Julie DASH’s Daughters of the Dust were inspired respectively by American identity politics in the 1970s and by American independent cinema’s rise to prominence in the 1980s. The former is a film made by an important feminist scholar and activist who is also the author of Sexual Politics while the latter explores the Great Migration in the early 20th century by looking at three generations of women. Jane CAMPION’s directorial debut, Sweetie is a pioneering film that marked the beginning of the Australian New Wave. In the meantime, Lucrecia MARTEL’s The Swamp, the winner of the Silver Bear at Berlinale, was the first to receive international recognition among the many promising Argentinian films of the 2000s with its never-say-die spirit. All these filmmakers have already made and continue to make a number of masterpieces that can constitute a retrospective or a special focus section. After all, it is no surprise that “women make great movies.”
Sunah KIM / Festival Director, Chief Programmer
USA1971Korean Premiere70DCPcolor, B&W