Siberian Love

In rural Siberia, romantic expectations are traditional and practical. The man is the head of the household. The woman takes care of the housekeeping and the children. But filmmaker Olga Delane doesn’t agree. While she was born in this small Siberian village, as a teenager she migrated to Berlin with her family, and 20 years of living in Germany has changed her expectations. SIBERIAN LOVE follows Delane home to her community of birth, where she interviews family and neighbors about their lives and relationships. Amusing and moving, this elegant film paints a picture of a world completely outside of technology, a hard-farming community where life is hard and marriage is sometimes unhappy—but where there are also unexpected paths to joy and family togetherness. Through clashing ideals of modern and traditional womanhood, SIBERIAN LOVE is a fascinating study of a country little known in the US and of a rural community that raises questions about domesticity, gender expectations, domestic abuse, childcare, and romance. Excellent for anthropology, women's studies, sociology, Russian and Eastern European Studies.
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Six Days: Three Activists, Three Wars, One Dream

This inspiring documentary, which follows three brave human rights defenders in Liberia, Abkhazia, Georgia and Iraq over six days, gives insight into the everyday struggle to improve the situation of women worldwide. SIX DAYS shines a necessary light on some of the most urgent and important human rights issues facing women today: girls education, honor killings, bride kidnappings and women’s health issues. Giving refuge and voice to women beaten, burned and threatened with death by their families, journalist Lanja, fearlessly challenges honor killings and domestic violence in Iraq’s Kurdish region. Nelly runs a cooperative and shelter in Monrovia, Liberia’s slums so that impoverished women can learn to read and earn money for their families. And in the breakaway republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, Maia, director of a women’s health group fighting for women’s sexual rights, brings medical care to women and girls in remote Caucasus villages while battling “bride kidnappings” and other archaic customs that lead to forced marriage. As it follows these three remarkable women, thousands of miles apart, SIX DAYS bears witness to their unwavering, shared commitment to women’s education, empowerment and dreams of a better life. An important film for those who wish to understand the challenges facing women in developing countries around the world and how feminism continues to help improve womens’ lives.
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The Price of Sex

An unprecedented and compelling inquiry, THE PRICE OF SEX sheds light on the underground criminal network of human trafficking and experiences of trafficked Eastern European women forced into prostitution abroad. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova’s feature documentary caps years of painstaking, on-the-ground reporting that aired on Frontline (PBS) and 60 Minutes (CBS) and earned her an Emmy nomination, Magnum photo agency’s Inge Morath Award, and a Webby for Internet excellence. Filming undercover with extraordinary access, even posing as a prostitute to gather her material, Bulgarian-born Chakarova travels from impoverished rural areas in post-Communist Eastern Europe, including her grandmother’s village, to Turkey, Greece, and Dubai. This dangerous investigative journey brings Chakarova face to face with trafficked women willing to trust her and appear on film undisguised. Their harrowing first-person accounts, as well as interviews with traffickers, clients, and anti-trafficking activists, expose the root causes, complex connections, and stark significance of sexual slavery today.
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Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

At only 22, Hungarian poet Hannah Senesh made the ultimate sacrifice – having already escaped Nazi-occupied Europe for Palestine and freedom, she returned, parachuting in behind enemy lines in a valiant effort to save Hungary’s Jews from deportation to Auschwitz and certain death. Captured immediately upon crossing the border into Hungary, Hannah was tortured and taken to a prison in Budapest, yet she refused to reveal the coordinates of her fellow resistance fighters - even when they also arrested her mother, Catherine. Hannah became a symbol of courage for her fellow prisoners, encouraging them to remain in good spirits, never losing faith in her Jewish identity, even as she was led out to be executed by firing squad. Narrated by Academy Award® Nominee Joan Allen, BLESSED IS THE MATCH is a truly moving memorial that brings to life this Holocaust heroine through interviews with Holocaust historians, eyewitness accounts from those on the rescue operation as well as in the prison, rare family photographs and the writings of Hannah and her mother. The film recreates Hannah’s perilous and heartbreaking mission, reconstructs her defiant months in the Gestapo prison and – through Hannah’s diary entries and poetry – looks back on the life of a talented and complex girl who came of age in a world descending into madness.
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Miss GULAG

MISS GULAG is a rare look at the lives of the first generation of women to come of age in post-Soviet Russia, where women’s unemployment and incarceration rates are very high. Shot inside a Siberian prison camp and the surrounding countryside, this absorbing documentary traces the individual paths of three young women now at different points in their lives: Tatiana, whose parole hearing and early release are captured on film; Natasha, living in freedom with her family in a remote village; and Yulia, not yet twenty and facing still more prison time. Like their individual circumstances, the shared experience of long jail sentences has made them vigilant about their own destinies. Incarceration and an environment of constant surveillance are harsh, but no less so than life outside. Yet all three women, their families, and loved ones are sustained by hope. Discovering an Internet item about an annual beauty pageant staged by women inmates of UF91-9, director Maria Yatskova (born in Moscow and living in the US since the age of five) was inspired to make MISS GULAG. The film’s compelling, moving stories of survival shed light on democracy’s darker side and offer a look at the issues facing women in post Soviet Russia.
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The Peacekeepers and the Women

Winner of the Arte-Documentary Award for Best German Documentary, this chilling investigation examines the booming sex-trafficking industry in Bosnia and Kosovo, and boldly explores the disturbing role of the UN peacekeeping forces and the local military in perpetuating this tragic situation. In 1995, the UN set up a free trade zone in Bosnia, hoping to bring peace to the troubled region. Instead it lured the thriving business of human trade—where women from villages in Moldova, the Ukraine and Romania are sold by the hundreds into prostitution. In a shocking indictment, the film reveals that affluent peacekeeping forces have been some of the burgeoning industry’s most solvent customers, allowing the sex trade to get a foothold in the region and paving the way for its expansion. Jurschick confronts UN officials and aid workers, goes on a raid with international police, and reveals the tragic stories of the trafficked women themselves to unravel the many layers of this complicated crime scene.
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Reconstruction

Filmmaker Irene Lusztig unearths a dark family secret in search of answers and reconciliation in her breakthrough feature documentary, RECONSTRUCTION. In communist Romania 1959, Lusztig’s maternal grandmother, Monica Sevianu, took part in a failed bank robbery (known as the Ioanid Gang bank heist) and was condemned to life in prison. Forty years later, the filmmaker returns to Bucharest to reassemble the pieces of her shocking story and construct a portrait of her estranged and enigmatic grandmother. The title of the documentary derives from a bizarre government propaganda film that reenacts the crime and trial of the robbery and shockingly stars the actual members of the Ioanid Gang – including Monica Sevianu. This surreal docu-drama incorporates interviews, contemporary footage shot in Bucharest and rare archival images, Lusztig reveals a mesmerizing family story spanning three generations about the subversive crime of six Jewish intellectuals, while presenting a compelling and complex examination of modern-day Romania.
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Writing Desire

"Ursula Biemann’s WRITING DESIRE is a video essay on the new dream screen of the Internet and how it impacts on the global circulation of women’s bodies from the third world to the first world. Although under-age Philippine 'pen pals' and post-Soviet mail-order brides have been part of the transnational exchange of sex in the post-colonial and post-Cold War marketplace of desire before the digital age, the Internet has accelerated these transactions. Biemann provides her viewers with a thoughtful meditation on the obvious political, economic and gender inequalities of these exchanges by simulating the gaze of the Internet shopper looking for the imagined docile, traditional, pre-feminist, but Web-savvy mate. WRITING DESIRE delights in implicating the viewer in the new voyeurism and sexual consumerism of the Web. However, it never fails to challenge pat assumptions about the impossibility for resistance and the absolute victimization of women who dare to venture out of the third world and onto the Internet to look for that very obscure object of desire promised by the men of the West. This film will promote lively discussion on third world women, the sex industry, mail order brides, racism and feminist backlashes in the West, and on women’s sexuality, desire, and new technologies." --Gina Marchetti, Ithaca College
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Seven Hours To Burn

"A visually expressive personal documentary that explores a family's history. Filmmaker Thakur mixes richly abstract filmmaking with disturbing archival war footage to narrate the story of her Danish mother's and Indian father's experiences. Her mother survives Nazi-occupied Denmark while her father experiences the devastating civil war in India between Hindus and Muslims. Both émigrés to Canada, they meet and marry, linking two parallel wars. Their daughter lyrically turns these two separate histories into a visually rich poem linking past and present in a new singular identity." Doubletake Documentary Film Festival Catalogue
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Far From Poland

When denied visas to shoot in Poland, a filmmaker, steeped in the documentary traditions of the left, decides to construct her film in New York City. Over the barest bones of documentary footage she drapes dramatic reenactments of Solidarity texts, formal vignettes and swatches of soap opera to engage the audience in her personal definition of the Polish struggle. A deft dismemberment of documentary truth, from the director of WAITING FOR THE MOON. Made in collaboration with Susan Delson, Mark Magill and Andrzej Tymowski.
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Invisible Adversaries

Breaking free of conventional unities of body, space and time, this early feature by one of Europe's leading feminist filmmakers is a haunting excursion into psychic disintegration and crumbling identity. It loosely covers one year in the life of Anna, a young Viennese photographer increasingly convinced that the Hyksos, a hostile alien force, are invading people's bodies and responsible for the decay and rising violence around her. Valie Export skillfully exploits montage and integrates video, performance and installation art with elements from Cubism, Surrealism, Dada and avant-garde cinema.
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The Practice of Love

"Valie Export's third feature is an anti-romance in which the heroine, oscillating between two relationships, gradually discovers that both are impossible, not because the subjective processes of "love" are defective, but because the objective, social matrix in which both her male lovers operate is corrupt, immoral, murderous: in this film, the male world and its power structures cancel the possibility of love beyond the matter of sexuality, that is the objectification of love. Export makes use of techniques drawn from her earlier experimental cinema, video and conceptual photography to expand the possibilities of narrative feature filmmaking and to disintegrate some of its overdetermined conventions." -Gary Indiana
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The Germans and Their Men

"If a woman doesn't have equal rights, is she equally responsible for the crimes of a nation?" Helke Sander's quasi-documentary turns a wry and revealing lens on German masculinity and national identity. This powerful critique offers popular sentiments and startling insights with biting wit and clarity, making provocative connections between feminism, fascism and the legacy of sexism in German history. Produced for ZDF (German television). "Still the best female helmer on the scene in Germany, Helke Sander takes her time between productions to pour as much personal philosophical reflection into her films as possible." -Variety
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Calling the Ghosts

An extraordinarily powerful documentary, CALLING THE GHOSTS is the first-person account of two women caught in a war where rape was as much an everyday weapon as bullets or bombs. Jadranka Cigelj and Nusreta Sivac, childhood friends and lawyers, enjoyed the lives of "ordinary modern women" in Bosnia-Herzegovina until one day former neighbors became tormentors. Taken to the notorious Serb concentration camp of Omarska, the two women, like other Muslim and Croat women interned there, were systematically tortured and humiliated by their Serb captors. Once released, the pair turned personal struggles for survival into a larger fight for justice-aiding other women similarly brutalized and successfully lobbying to have rape included in the international lexicon of war crimes by the UN Tribunal at the Hague. Chronicling the two women's experience and their remarkable transformation, CALLING THE GHOSTS is an indispensable resource for deepening understanding of human rights abuses and combating violence against women in the global arena.
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