TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘Women Make Film’

TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘Women Make Film’

Mark Cousins’ epic Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema is an important work. Through its narrators like Jane Fonda, it guides through the umbrella of the female gaze.

Some of its opening chapters show films from female director who are working and relevant today. But as a good guide does, it takes us further, showing us more diverse work.

It’s hard enough for female directors to have the right of inclusion within the cinematic canon. And when they do, the same directors’ names pop up, talented as they may be.

So it’s nice to see the work of Asian women tackling topics that European ones do. We also get perspectives from Africa and the Middle East whose work finally get their due.

There’s also a collaborative air between Cousins and the women narrating what we see onscreen. Other narrators include Kerry Fox and Sharmila Tagore, who illuminate audiences on what within the frame.

The female gaze we see here runs in opposition with the male ones dominating cinema. This particular gaze corrects, or is an alternative on how to display human bodies and spaces.

Cousins divides his film with chapters pertaining to how women see bodies and their homes. He also shows femlae directors’ contributions to genres like comedy and how lighting works within genres.

However, the most fascinating chapters are about sex, religion, and politics as part of life. They place those topics as part of daily life, breaking taboos, raising their voices as women.

TIFF is running Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema in five installments. For more information go to https://tiff.net/events/women-make-film-a-new-road-movie-through-cinema-part-3/.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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