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Women Make Film: Ida Lapino

Women Make Film : A New Road Movie through Cinema - deel 2

Mark Cousins / GB, 2018 / 120 min.

Part two 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.

Conversation A basic human interaction – how to make it cinematic? Angela Schanelec directs us to focus on body language in Places in Cities, Cecile Tang uses the zoom as guide through the emotional shifts in the Arch, and Sofia Coppola in The Virgin Suicides shows us an unspoken conversation through division with songs and split screens telling a story of impossible longing.

Framing Frames describe and paint the scenes. They can make sport look balletic, like in controversial Nazi iconographer’s Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympiad. They shape the cinematic world – through impressionist glances in Kathryn’s Bigelow’s Blue Steel, suffocating close-ups in Lucrecia Martel’s The Holy Girl, and camera angles as extreme as the titular character’s emotions in Mahalia Belo’s Ellen.

Tracking Tracking shots are to many an essence of filmmaking magic. They can ask questions and talk when hardly anyone else in the film is talking – like in Chantal Akerman’s D’Est or Marion Hänsel’s Le Lit. In Antona Bird’s Face, a seamless tracking shot gives us an illusion of the camera being the extension of our eyes. Kinetic in nature, tracking can help dynamically show and express a desperate excape, like in Ursula Meier’s Home.

Staging Scene staging is an element of film form pointing clearly to cinema’s origin – theatre. Kinuyo Tanaka in The Moon Has Risen uses staging to shape the scene’s invisible geometry, accentuating the tension between characters. Maren Ade in Toni Erdmann stages the scene through depth, facilitating the tragicomic punchline. And in Maria Schrader’s Stefan Zweig: A Farewell to Europe, the criss-crossing complex staging in the final scene makes the space where it takes place come alive.

Journey Movement is key to a motion picture, and journeys in films can be horizontal as well as vertical (into the self). Travel can be like glue and bind characters from two different worlds, like in Crane’s Confectionary where a middle class woman and working class man go on a moral journey against society. Driving can be a test of wil land courage, like in Nell Shipman’s Something New. The mode of transportation itself can serve as a safe space and a social microcosm, like the car in Andrea Arnold’s American Honey. Or, like in Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, it can take the character on a journey into their nightmares.

Discovery Discovery and revelation shape some of cinema’s most iconic moments. But beyond the best-known scenes, there lies the humanity, craft and insight of discovery – like in Céline Sciamma’s Tomboy, when the mother suddenly sees her child in a new light. There’s the discovery of the opposite sex’s naked form, like in the male-gaze-flipping scene from Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. Then in Sabiha Sumar’s Silent Waters the audience itself is guided through a discovery that changes everything about how they view the story.

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Details

Director

Mark Cousins

Production year

2018

Country

GB

Original title

Women Make Film : A New Road Movie through Cinema - deel 2

Length

120 min.

Language

English, uncoded languages

Subtitles

ENG or NLD

Format

DCP

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