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Women Make Film: Safi Faye

Women Make Film : A New Road Movie through Cinema - deel 1

Mark Cousins / GB, 2018 / 118 min.

Part one of a vertiginous trip through the history of cinema as seen through the eyes of the greatest of female directors. Our guides are Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Debra Winger, Adjoa Andoh, Kerry Fox, Thandie Newton and Sharmila Tagore. Love, life, humour, politics and death all feature in this epic, 14-hour road journey screened in seven instalments.

poster Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema (Mark Cousins, GB 2019)

Mark Cousins strides through the alternative history of cinema, showing almost seven hundred clips from films by 183 female directors, the majority of whom have remained fairly unknown to us.

Openings With examples from 1943 to 2013, from China to Iran, Australia to Finland, we look at how to open a film: from mysterious, direct, floating, foreboding to plunging straight in. All are instructive in how to create an immediate world. Learning from example.

Tone What’s the tone of a film - not its story or theme, but what its world feels like? Back to Hollywood and director Dorothy Arzner with Merrily We Go to Hell and its glamorous amorous mood setting the tone. This chapter looks at the myriad of ways in which directors set the tone of their films: delight, anger, poetic, double tone, moral seriousness, caring, edgy, violence.

Believability Easy to spot, but not so easy to understand. Believability is about simple human stories, truth about life, real emotions, responding to the world. How do directors create a reality without it feeling fake? True stories can help. But what’s the trick? Here are some answers, with a masterclass in believability from Lois Weber’s The Blot to Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann.

Introducing Character Going to a house, overhearing people, witnessing bizarre action – there are many ways to meet people and be introduced to characters in films. In Shirley Clarke’s The Connection from 1961 she has a documentary crew introduce the characters to us; Andrea Arnold puts her characters centre of the frame in Fish Tank; and in The Story of the Flaming Years directed by Yuliya Solntseva the main character is introduced filmed like a statue on a building.

Meet Cute The classic Hollywood trope of a “meet cute”, and a myriad of interpretations. From intimate glimpses to worlds colliding spectacularly. Unique examples such as the feverish pivotal meet cute in Germaine Dulac’s experimental The Seashell and the Clergyman, Céline Sciamma playing two girl gangs against each other in Girlhood, and the cynical FBI old guard meeting the idealistic newcomer in Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break. Then a masterfully choreographed, layered meet cute in Mania Akbari’s One. Two. One captured in one wide shot composed like a Renaissance altarpiece.

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Persons under 16 years must be accompanied by an adultThis movie contains scenes of violenceScenes from this movie may cause fearThis movie contains scenes showing explicit sexThis movie contains foul language


Mark Cousins

Production year




Original title

Women Make Film : A New Road Movie through Cinema - deel 1


118 min.


English, uncoded languages





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