Women's power

On filmingo we celebrate strong women in film - a little inspiration!

Félicité (2017)
Alain Gomis
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
124′
Félicité is a proud and independent woman who works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Whenever she goes on stage, she appears to leave the world and her everyday worries behind. Her audiences are quickly infected by the rhythm of her music and her powerful, melancholy melodies. But then one day Félicité’s son has a terrible accident. Whilst he is in hospital she desperately tries to raise the money needed for his operation. A breathless tour through the impoverished streets and the wealthier districts of the Congolese capital ensues. One of the bar’s regulars is a man named Tabu who has been known to get carried away in every sense of the term. Tabu offers to help Félicité. Reluctantly, she accepts. After his spell in hospital, Félicité’s son has a hard time picking up his old life, but it is lady’s man Tabu of all people who manages to coax him out of his shell. Félicité’s sparsely furnished flat with its permanently defunct fridge becomes a mini utopia in a country that holds no hope for most of its population. The trio forms an eccentric community thrown together by fate, each of whom is free to go their separate ways together.
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Virgem Margarida (2012)
Licínio Azevedo
Mozambique
87′
1975, Mozambique’s rebirth. The young revolution sweeps the streets of Maputo from prostitutes and bad habits. Sent to re-education camps deep in the countryside, they will become "new women". Margarida, a sixteen year-old girl from the countryside, was mistakenly taken. This is their story. Women bounded by adversity.
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Sage femme - The Midwife (2017)
Martin Provost
France
117′
Claire is a single mother with a grown-up son. She’s a dedicated midwife who is completely wrapped up in her job. Although the maternity ward where she works is to be closed, she turns down a job offer from a larger clinic because she cannot reconcile their methods with her own ideas about midwifery. In the midst of all this upheaval she receives a phone call that rekindles memories of her youth. Béatrice, her late father’s former mistress, asks to meet her. Béatrice is a true bohemian – loud, colourful, egocentric and completely different to the focussed, helpful Claire. The younger woman asks herself why, after all these years of silence, Béatrice has suddenly decided to approach her for help, and is at first less than enthusiastic. Martin Provost has made a name for himself with powerful portraits of women (Séraphine, Violette). Sage Femme revolves around the encounter between two headstrong women, perfectly cast with two of French cinema’s grandes dames. A dramatic comedy about the need for change, and the question of whether steak, pommes frites and red wine is really what one would call a healthy lunch.
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Messidor (1979)
Alain Tanner
Switzerland
123′
Project initially entrusted to Maurice Pialat, who had already begun to film it under the title of “Meurtrières” (see the special edition of Les Inrockuptibles devoted to Pialat), Messidor is based on a crime story which hit the headlines in France in the 1970s: two adolescent girls run away and go on a criminal spree which ends in their deaths. On the face of it, this subject is remote from the world we associate with Tanner, since a violent story of this kind and its social background would seem to impose the realistic, even naturalistic form always shunned by the Swiss director. Moreover, Tanner is instinctively averse to filming physical violence. “Killing a person”, he says, “is generally a gratuitous special effect.” Consequently, of all Tanner’s films Messidor is the only one in which someone dies of non-natural causes. It is also Tanner’s most sombre work, characterised by a despair unmitigated by his usual verbal and situational humour. This is because Tanner accepted the project only on condition that he could recast the original idea and use this violent story as a vehicle for more personal preoccupations: the limits of freedom (already treated in his previous film) are here related to the girls’ frantic flight in the Swiss countryside. What interests him is the possible sullying of this place of excessive peace and quiet, now transformed into a field of experience and criminal fun-and-games by the two characters.
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