Female Directed Highlights at Filmfest Munich 2017

Sophie Charlotte Rieger
Sophie Charlotte Rieger

Female Directed Highlights at Filmfest Munich 2017

German blogger Sophie Charlotte Rieger checked out Filmfest Munich 2017 for female directed movies to watch out for. And that’s what she came up with:

German movies:

Der lange Sommer der Theorie (The Long Summer of Theory)
by Irene von Alberti

In the middle of the Berlin nowhere, one of the many places stuck between deconstruction of the old and reconstruction of the new, Irene von Alberti stages an experimental doc-fiction film about three women dealing with current issues like feminism and female identity, the struggle against right wing populism and the question of art within a capitalist and materialist society. She does so by combining documentary interviews with fictional sequences: Von Alberti applies the theories explained by the experts on the fictional interaction and dialogue of her protagonists, thus establishing a discourse in and outside the movie theater. As the director says about her work herself, “Der lange Sommer der Theorie” is a film that doesn’t stop at the end of the screening.

Western trailer
By Valeska Grisebach

It’s probably on everyone’s watch list anyways, but still needs to be pointed out: Valeska Grisebach’s “Western” is a clever and extremely well done western that deals with the current issue of how to approach and interact with “the other”. Set in Bulgaria, but close to Greece and therefore the refugee crisis, the film tells the story of a German work force building a hydro power plant and their encounters with the local community. The western hero is, as he should be, a melancholic loner that even though he is the only one to make friends among the Bulgarian peasants cannot fit in anywhere. Taking her time to delve deep into both (male dominated) communities, Grisebach is able to paint a complex picture of human longings and fears.

Die göttliche Ordnung (The Devine Order) trailer
By Petra Volpe

Being the Swiss version of “Suffragette”, “Die göttliche Ordnung” stays true to its origin and wears the colors and style of a “Heimatfilm”, heartwarming rather than infuriating, funny rather than depressing – but never playing down its issue. The main character, Nora, is torn between the love for her husband and her feminist struggle for the women’s suffrage in Switzerland, not a victim of her surroundings but always a fighter who does not only encourage her fellow campaigners but also the movie audience. By putting a strong emphasis on the sexual emancipation of her heroine, Petra Volpe managed to create a movie adaption of the feminist slogan “the personal is political” that is both entertaining and empowering.


Clair Obscur trailer
By YeÅŸim UstaoÄŸlu

The psychologist Shenaz helps a young girl to overcome her trauma of an abusive marriage. But within that process Shenaz has to confront her own lack of empowerment. “Clair Obscur” is a very bold movie that challenges its audience to question itself rather than others by showing that the term “abusive” does entail much more than physical violence and on a subtle but still damaging level might be present in each and everyone’s life. Like Petra Volpe’s film “The Devine Order”, “Clair Obscur” understands female sexuality as the key to empowerment and shows it’s audience how to use it to open the door to personal freedom.

A mon âge je me cache encore pour fumer (I Still Hide to Smoke) trailer
By Rayhana

This movie version of an intimate theater play, exclusively staged in the enclosed space of an Algerian hammam, opens the doors to a secret world of women. This is the safe space where the female protagonists can come together, chat about their worries as well as their happiness and support each other. The power of this film lies in its diversity: As various as their bodies are the stories told by the female visitors of the bath. Rayhana does not only show suppressed victims of patriarchy but also empowered women. But first of all she takes a stance for female solidarity across religious and political beliefs. “I still Hide to Smoke” is not easy to watch, as the reality it shows is hard to take in, but it nevertheless delivers hope and therefore empowerment.

I’m Not A Witch
By Rungano Nyoni

A little girl, not yet ten years old, is identified as a witch, sent to a camp where her kind is held in slave labor and used by a politician in his struggle for power. Sambian director Rungano Nyoni tells a story that draws on reality – apparently witch camps do exist in Sambia – but is so full of exaggerations and ironic elements that you can never quite tell which part is “real” and which isn’t. But “I’m Not A Witch” derives its strength exactly from this ambivalence, being able to create a complex metaphor for the situation of women in patriarchal societies. It is touching as well as funny and leaves the audience with so many interesting questions that you cant help yourself thinking about it.