Moving Images: Women’s Pictures, Women’s Lives

This week’s theme was “Women’s Picture’s, Women’s Lives” and it’s the second last short films program in Moving Images. If you haven’t already checked it out at U of W I recommend it. The next program goes until February 18th and then that’s it!

Here are some thoughts, videos and pictures on this week’s short films:

1) Clean (2015) by Danielle Sturk

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A women comes out of a car wash feeling dirty instead of clean. The imagery was excellent. I loved the water over the windshield layered with the car wash interior. It puts you in the place of the narrator and makes their narration even more impactful. The story and setting fit well into a short film. I think this one was one of my favourites.

2) The Singing Bones (2016) by Danishka Esterhazy

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A woman attends a blue party and encounters Blue Beard. This film had surprisingly high production values compared to the rest. I really liked the use of colour and lighting, and the setting was cool. The fairy tale premise felt a bit cliche but supported the story. I guess it was meant to comment on little girl’s expectation of princess tales, but I felt it could have been less explicit. I liked the beginning more than the ending, but overall it was an enjoyable story.

3) Maiden Indian (2011) by The Ephemerals

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This one was captivating. I wish I had taken more pictures but I was too busy watching. A group of young girls start out in Forever 21 trying on “indigenous-inspired” (appropriated) clothes. Then they visit a museum displaying traditional indigenous clothes. They decide to sew their own and bike around Winnipeg decked out in feathered headbands, mukluks, and beaded necklaces. The music, by Bear Witness who is a member of A Tribe Called Red, was memorable and complemented the visuals very well. There was no narration; the film made it’s point visually. This film was another one of my favourites.

Cultural appropriation, with clothes in particular, is tough to tackle but important to address. Significant meanings can be lost and some things can just be made up. I watched Reel Injun at Cinematheque a while ago and a film costume designer said that headbands weren’t actually a common accessory for many tribes, but came to be known as one in films because they were used to hold the actors wigs on.

4) Zuma (2012) by Sharon Alward

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A woman recalls giving her child up for adoption. The narrator tells her story of how she was “coerced and shamed into signing adoption papers”and grieves for the daughter she never got the chance to know, Diana. For the first half or so of the film, a women steps through an immense snowy landscape, like an innocent and lonely dreamscape. The second half shows Zuma beach, a place where the narrator now goes to think and heal. The water and moon feel like symbols of femininity (cycles, periods #CrazyInterpretationGuessTime). Personally, I liked the first half better than the second. The second half is needed to complete the story and tell how the narrator dealt with the issue later in life. But, I think it could have been more impactful if the viewer was put into reality (the beach) for a short time after a longer time in the snowy dreamscape.

Watch short preview here.

5) Canoe (2010) by Shelagh Carter & Deborah Schnitzer

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A woman cares for her elderly husband and recalls their happier youth together. Scenes of the couple are contrasted with black-and-white scenes of them happily doing activities together, mainly canoeing. The woman seems depressed and contemplates ways of killing them both. I read here it’s actually a found footage film. I think that means the flashbacks are found and the other shots are acted, but perhaps the whole thing is found footage. Anyway, I liked some of the shots (of the woman in particular) and it successfully made me sad.

That’s all the films from this week! They are still playing at Gallery C103 at U of W until Saturday, so check them out if you’re interested. I couldn’t find as many trailers/online versions this week but liked many of them quite a bit so worth going.

Thanks for reading! Like, follow, comment, share, and all that jazz.

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