VIFF 2014 is proud to showcase 37 films from an incredible selection of female filmmakers. While we would love to list them all, here are 8 great female-directed picks we believe should make your must-see list!
Rocks in My Pockets
Signe Baumane, Latvia/USA
Rightfully billed as “a crazy quest for sanity,” Signe Baumane’s animated memoir spins her troubling family history into a rich fantastical tale. Delving into her grandmother’s mysterious death as well as Baumane’s own struggles with inherited illness, “the film explores with wit, surreal invention and insight something left far too often undiscussed.”–Hollywood Reporter. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Karlovy Vary 2014.
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Iran
Iran’s premier female filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad returns with this brilliantly constructed tapestry of intersecting stories and characters from different levels of Iranian society. All struggle against the strictures of contemporary Iranian life; all find some solace in love… “The characters of my… films are still alive to me… Tales returns to the characters of my previous films under today’s circumstances.”–Bani-Etemad
Above Us All
Eugenie Jansen, Netherlands/Belgium
A daring formal experiment lies at the heart of this exploration of loss. Eugenie Jansen films her story–a young, half-Aboriginal girl copes with being transplanted from Australia to Belgium after her mother’s death–in 50 fps 3D and uses 360-degree pans to evoke time’s inexorable movement. The result is a boundary-pushing drama that is as affecting as it is bold in execution.
Challat of Tunis
Kaouther Ben Hania, Tunisia/France/Canada
Writer-director Kaouther Ben Hania turns her caustically funny eye to the sexist practices and antediluvian views she finds endemic in her country. “An audacious mockumentary… Hilarious and acerbic… Ostensibly about the director’s search for a man who slashed 11 women from his motorbike back in 2003, the pic shines a discomfiting light on Tunisia’s attitudes toward women, using a fake-documentary approach…”–Variety
Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Ana Lily Amirpour, Iran/USA
Looking for love (and hemoglobin) in the desolate streets of Iranian ghost town Bad City, a lonesome, alluring vampire (Sheila Vand) must also navigate the comically offbeat, unequivocally cool reality envisioned by director Ana Lily Amirpour. Channelling vintage Jarmusch and cranking the post-punk soundtrack to spellbinding effect, “Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal desire.”–Indiewire
Miss and the Doctors
Axelle Ropert, France
Two very different pediatrician brothers (Cédric Kahn, Laurent Stocker) fall for the same barmaid (the luminous Louise Bourgoin) in Axelle Ropert’s (The Wolberg Family) intelligent romance. “Reminiscent of… [the] cleverly scripted adult dramas of François Truffaut’s late period. It’s at once astutely observed and deeply, though subtly, passionate… The direction and performances are spot-on throughout.”–Hollywood Reporter
Sacha Polak, Netherlands
The frankness of the title reflects Sacha Polak’s uncommon candour in this reflective, unsentimental and incredibly personal documentary. Having inherited a rare cancer gene, is a preventative mastectomy the answer for Polak? What if it’s all for naught and cancer never appears? Does such surgery diminish or alter one’s femininity? Nearing the age at which cancer tragically claimed her mother, the filmmaker urgently searches for answers.
Que Caramba es la Vida
Doris Dörrie, Germany
VIFF favourite Doris Dörrie (Cherry Blossoms) immerses us in the mayhem of Mexico City’s bustling Plaza Garibaldi and introduces us to the female Mariachis–still a rare breed–who perform there. While their passionate voices suggest indomitable spirits, moving confessional interviews reveal the discrimination and personal doubts they must contend with on a daily basis. “The female performers are dynamite… Inspiring.”–NOW Toronto