Over Women’s History Month in March 2014, Translation/ Transmission: Women’s Activism Across Time and Space will celebrate the diverse ways women activists have communicated their struggle and resistance through film.
Well-received and less well-known films will be shown together for the first time in a season that explores the potential of film and feminist media to translate across the boundaries of language, genre, time and culture.
Translation/ Transmission features activist documentaries and women filmmakers from the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain, Jamaica, Palestine, Germany, Vietnam, USA, Iran and France/ Cameroon, highlighting the diversity of different feminisms across geographical locations and historical moments.
Screenings will be enriched by discussion from activists, academics and artists; audiences will be invited to participate in discussions about the role played by feminist artists and filmmakers in rendering visible forgotten histories and marginalized experiences.
The season aims to ignite in our imaginations a renewed and urgent thirst for feminist activism and creativity.
All film showings will take place at the Watershed Cinema in Bristol. Tickets on sale end of November, and exact dates/ times confirmed then as well.
We are yet to finalise the full list of speakers who will help facilitate discussions about the films, so if you want to get involved please get in touch. We regret that because this is a not for profit, minimally funded event, we cannot offer speakers’ fees, but we can cover travel expenses.
We will also be adding to our resource page in the run up to the season, and using the blog to respond to ideas relating to the theme of Translation/ Transmission.
If you want to write something for the blog contact us to discuss your ideas. Please share information about the film season with your networks! Thanks!
Audre Lorde: the Berlin Years, 1984-1992 (2012)
Directed by Dagmar Schultz Audre Lorde’s incisive, often-angry, but always brilliant writings and speeches defined and inspired the US-American feminist, lesbian, African-American, and Women-of-Color movements of the 1970s and 1980s. Audre Lorde: the Berlin Years, 1984-1992 documents an untold chapter of Lorde’s life: her influence on the German political and cultural scene during a decade of profound social change. It chronicles Lorde’s empowerment of Afro-German women to write and to publish, as she challenged white women to acknowledge the significance of their white privilege and to deal with difference in constructive ways. Previously unreleased archive material and present-day interviews explore the lasting influence of Lorde’s ideas.
Calypso Rose (2011) Directed by Pascale Obolo
An exuberant and inspiring ambassador for the Caribbean,Calypso Rose is the uncontested and much decorated diva of Calypso music. With more than 800 recorded songs, she continues to be a pioneer and champion of women’s rights, as she travels the world making music. French-Cameroonian filmmaker Pascale Obolo spends four years with Calypso Rose on a very personal journey. Traveling to Paris, New York, Trinidad and Tobago and to her ancestral home in Africa, we learn more about Calypso Rose in each place, and the many faces and facets of her life.
Ein El Hilweh, Kingdom of Women (2010) Directed by Dahna Abourahme
The story of the women of Ein El Hilweh refugee camp between 1982 and 1984 is an important chapter in the history of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the camp was destroyed and its men imprisoned. Kingdom of Women documents the organizing spirit of women during this period—detailing how they were able to rebuild the camp and provide for their families while their men were held captive. Using animation and scenes from daily life as it moves between past and present, the film focuses on seven women, honoring the contributions they’ve made to the survival of the Palestinian community in exile.
Facing Mirrors (2011) Directed by Negar Azarbayjani, produced by Fereshteh Taerpour
Set in contemporary Iran, Facing Mirrors is a story of an unlikely and daring friendship that develops despite social norms and religious beliefs. Although Rana is a traditional wife and mother, she is forced to drive a cab to pay off the debt that keeps her husband in prison. By chance she picks up the wealthy and rebellious Edi, who is desperately awaiting a passport to leave the country. At first Rana attempts to help, but when she realizes that Edi is transgender, a dangerous series of conflicts arise.
In Our Own Time (1981) by Women in Moving Pictures
This short film was made by the Bristol-based film collective Women in Moving Pictures (W.I.M.P.S) in 1980-1981. It explores the lives of the Bristol Women’s Music Collective in order to examine how women’s liberation activists used music as a means of empowerment in order to find a voice that was personal, collective and political.
The film was digitized in 2012 as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project Music & Liberation, copies are housed in the Feminist Archive South.
Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair (1978) Directed, produced and written by Susan Shapiro, Esther Ronayand Francine Winham
Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair is an example of feminist revisions of folk and fairy tales that emerged in the 1970s. The film explores the contradictions surrounding women’s sexuality within patriarchal society. Using animated sequences, overlaid text and dramatisation it revisits the Grimms’ Fairytale in order to challenge the moral values of a tale that implicitly promotes women’s social dependency on men. Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair carves out an alternative vision, where women can work together or alone to navigate their own destinies.
Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) Directed by Trinh T. Minh-ha, Associate Producer Jean-Paul Bourdier
‘Of marriage and loyalty: “Daughter, she obeys her father/ Wife, she obeys her husband/ Widow, she obeys her son.”’
Vietnamese-born Trinh T. Minh-ha’s profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society. Using dance, printed texts, folk poetry and the words and experiences of Vietnamese women in Vietnam—from both North and South—and the United States, Trinh’s film challenges official culture with the voices of women.
A theoretically and formally complex work, Surname Viet Given Name Nam explores the difficulty of translation, and themes of dislocation and exile, critiquing both traditional society and life since the war.
Sweet Sugar Rage (1985) by the Sistren Theatre Collective, with response from Gail Lewis
Founded in 1977, Sistren are a women’s popular theatre company based in Kingston, Jamaica, who use drama-in-education as a means of problem solving at a community level; questioning in particular society’s failure to value the work and skills of women.
We are delighted to welcome Dr Gail Lewis to discuss the film with us as part of Translation/ Transmission.
In oral histories conducted for the Black Cultural Archives‘ Heart of the Race project (2009-2010) and Sisterhood and After, Gail Lewis spoke about the importance of international networks for sustaining and shaping the politics of the UK Black women’s movement in the 80s. The discussion will be an opportunity for Gail to elaborate on this point through reflecting on her memories of Sistren’s visits to the UK.