6 Films About Fierce Females

There are a remarkable amount of tough women on screen at VIFF this year. These women are pushing back at gender expectations, living loud, and making a name for themselves, good or bad, fictional or not. Here are 6 films that truly delegitimize any notion of women as the “weaker sex” screening at VIFF:


Winnie allows the former First Lady of South Africa to fill in the blanks and defend herself. In spite of constant surveillance, regular detentions, exile, torture and house arrest, Winnie kept the name of an imprisoned Mandela alive and led the equal-rights movement, much to the chagrin of the government and her own political party. In striking archival footage, we witness Madikizela-Mandela’s crowd appeal and see how her strong, uncompromising character earned her enemies on both sides.

Screening Wednesday, October 11 @ 6:30pm at SFU Goldcorp

Tiger GirlTigerGirl

Condemned to playing rent-a-cop after flunking police academy, meek Maggie finds a brash mentor in Tiger, who helps her channel her inner “Vanilla the Killer.” As this rampaging pair turns Berlin into their playground and men into their chew toys, Jakob Lass employs kinetic camerawork and swaggering improvisation to heighten his film’s anarchic appeal. “An anthem to the marginalized youth of Europe… and women who need to kick ass if they are going to survive.”—Screen Anarchy

Screening Thursday, October 12 @ 9:00pm at International Village

Lipstick Under my BurkhaLipstickUnderMyBurkha

Alankrita Shrivastava weaves together four stories of Indian women refusing to play by the rules in this warmly funny tale. Shirin hides her job from her husband; Leela gets engaged while having an affair; religious student Rehana discovers sensual pleasures; and Auntie Usha is obsessed with erotic fiction… “Lipstick is audaciously outspoken about women’s sexual desires and fantasies, both visually and verbally.”—Hollywood Reporter

Screening Thursday, October 12 @ 1:15pm at SFU Goldcorp

Louise Lecavalier in MotionLouiseLecavalierRidingHorses

Since commencing her career as a platinum-blonde dreadlocked dynamo in the early ‘80s, Louise Lecavalier has established herself as a Canadian contemporary dance icon. Having toured with Zappa and Bowie, the Montreal dancer/choreographer (now 58) embodies electric energy, extreme dedication and unrelenting inventiveness. In Raymond St-Jean’s mesmerizing homage, Lecavalier’s unwavering creative vision is fully explored, illuminating a woman in perpetual motion, spiritually, mentally and physically.

Screening Wednesday, October 11 @ 11:00am at Vancity Theatre

Marlina the Murderer in Four PartsMarlinaTheMurdererInFourActs

Marlina, a recently bereaved widow, is set upon by a group of men with rape on their minds—but she sure knows how to fight back. This film has been likened to a Western, and in its portrayal of a trek across the land to seek justice it does recall some classics of the genre. But ultimately it stands on its own, a proudly feminist work and a slam-bang revenge drama. “Kicks ass… At once an enjoyable genre ride and a feminist art-house story.”—Hollywood Reporter

Screening Tuesday, October 10 @ 6:15pm and Friday, October 13 @ 1:45pm at Vancity Theatre

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr StoryBombshell.jpg

A protrait of Hollywood icon Hedy Lamarr, whose legendary beauty and affinity for scandal—denounced by the Pope at 18, six ex-husbands, drug addiction, financial ruin—blinded the world to the brilliant mind behind the invention of a secret WWII communications system that became the basis for modern WiFi. “The underexposed, amazing story of a Hollywood glamour queen who could have been a scientist.”—Hollywood Reporter

Screening Wednesday, October 11 @ 3:45pm at Vancouver Playhouse

Tickets to all of these films available here.

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