International Women's Day Movie Recommendations
By Emily Wang, UXUI Designer and Project Manager @ Jump
Happy International Women's Day! This year, we are recommending some women-focused movies. There are a lot of lists out there but we wanted to focus on films that showcase the experiences of women all around the world.
The Breadwinner is an animation film, directed by Nora Twomey. It focuses on Parvana, an 11-year-old girl living in Kabul, Afghanistan, under the Taliban regime. After her father is unjustly arrested, she disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family. The film looks into life as a woman in that time period and does not hold back the harsh realities of what women had to face. However, even alongside the backdrop of poverty, war and violence, the Breadwinner is an empathetic story that is truly a must watch for everyone and all ages.
Kim Ji-young: Born 1982 is a South Korean drama film, directed by Do-young Kim. It focuses on Ji-young Kim, a woman in her 30s, who starts to act strangely as she is seemingly possessed by her mother and grandmother. Originally written as a book, this story has gained widespread attention in South Korea, especially during the #MeToo era. The story critiques the patriarchal system and the hardships women in South Korea go through, especially with inequality, discrimination and sexual harassment. My own mother recommended me this film, saying it was a must-watch for all women as she felt she could completely relate to the story.
Volver is a Spanish comedy-drama film, directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The film focuses on a family of women in Madrid. A murder and family tragedy happens, with Raimunda, a working-class woman, going to lengths to protect her 14-year-old daughter. Alongside that, Raimunda and her sister, Sole, start to hear reports about their mother coming back from the dead. Despite the summary, Volver is quite a heartfelt and sincere movie that really does well to show the relationships between a mother and a daughter. The characters feel real and strong, especially as they navigate this particular time of their lives. I thoroughly recommend this film. If you enjoyed this film, I also recommend watching Pedro Almodóvar's other film All About My Mother.
Roma is a drama film, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Set in Mexico, it follows Cleo, an indigenous housekeeper of an upper-middle-class Mexican family, as she navigates pregnancy. Alfonso Cuarón is one of the best directors out there (did you know he directed Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban?) and this film was a semi-autobiographical take on his own upbringing in Mexico. Cleo feels like a real woman, with real hopes and feelings. The film feels intimate and genuine. It's a real must-watch if you're into films.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a French historical romance drama film, directed by Céline Sciamma. It follows the story of a painter, who has been commissioned to paint the portrait of an aristocrat, and how they fall in love. The film is a queer love story, with almost no men throughout the film. With this, it depicts the dynamic of female gazes (as opposed to the male gaze rhetoric) and the realistic assessment of circumstances for women during this period. It's a wonderful film, that is so emotionally rich and lovely. It's a masterful film, that leaves you fulfilled at the end. It also stars Adèle Haenel, a feminist French actress who is vocal about injustices within the French film industry.