The International Feature Competition is a brand new challenge, the first installment of it in the twenty-year history of Seoul International Women’s Film Festival (SIWFF). This section pursues two main goals: the first goal is to promote a more women-friendly and gender equal film production environment so that female filmmakers from all over the world would have more opportunities to produce feature films, and the second is to allow the audiences the opportunity to meet female filmmakers’ films whose protagonists are women. The competitors of this historic event are eight female filmmakers and their feature films from eight different countries. The entries for this competition were selected among the first or second features directed by female newcomer directors in order to support their early filmic careers. All the selected films carry diverse perspectives on life, which inherently challenge its complexities.
The use of post-colonial Algerian theorist and psychiatrist Frantz FANON’s quotes in its title, I Am Truly a Drop of Sun on Earth (dir. Elene NAVERIANI) and the use of the number A Bitter Earth sung by Diana WASHINGTON naturally disclose the thematic issue of the movie. Gabriela PICHLER’s Amateurs, a somewhat of sequel to her debut film Eat Sleep Die, drills and unearths the ‘whiteness’ infused in Nordic and Swedish cultures as it is observed through the eyes of a young female Arab worker. An Argentinian feature, Today Match at 3 (dir. Clarisa NAVAS) successfully captures not only the female body movements in action during a soccer game without losing its kinetic energy, but also the emotional exchanges that occur among the characters, whereas The Party’s Over (dir. Marie GAREL-WEISS) effectively portrays the growth of two women through the buddy film frame. Meanwhile, two Asian films from China and Japan mediate lives of women situated in different social places and roles: while the Chinese Girls Always Happy (dir. YANG Mingming) depicts the love and hate relationship between a mother and daughter, the Japanese Oh Lucy! (dir. Atsuko HIRAYANAGI) tells the story of a single, middle-aged office lady named Lucy. The last two films present a deepened perspective on life as L'Animale (dir. Katharina MÜCKSTEIN) seems to have achieved the least common denominator of humans, an element common to human race regardless of gender, sexuality and generation, and Vacuum (dir Christine REPOND) depicts the story of a middle aged woman coming to terms with an illness she developed because of her husband’s betrayal. If ‘female films’ are defined as films highlighting differences—those that cannot be assimilated into the mainstream—, these eight features would be the most appropriate examples of ‘female films’.
Sunah KIM / Festival Director, Chief Programmer