Women's Work Season

Women’s Work Season

From July through to September, we present a season of essential films that sees visionary women write, direct or take the lead.

Women have always been great storytellers. The word ‘saga’ is also the name of the Nordic Goddess of Storytelling and Poetry whose moniker we now use to describe a long, leisurely narrative. When it comes to telling stories on film, women have always had their sleeves rolled up. Pioneering director Alice Guy-Blaché made 100s of silent films in the late 1800s inspiring a sisterhood of filmmakers such as Mabel Normand, Zora Neale Hurston and Lois Weber.

Like most industries, commercialism has a tendency to fade out the women who engineered its success and with Hollywood’s big buck rise came the suppression of females in film. Women’s Work, politely reminds us that movie making isn’t just a man’s game and women are as at large now as they were then. The eight-week season reveres new films from intriguing new directors and nods fondly to those who’ve paved the way.

From the rookies to the veterans, the season threads together a humble sorority of women and explores the countless dimensions women bring to the big screen. Enjoy the fruits of their labour from July 30 – Sep 30.

The Piano (15) – Mon 30 July

Director: Jane Campion. Starring: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Sam Neill. Duration: 116 min

In 1851, a mute pianist travels with her young daughter and beloved piano to colonial New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner. Her practical new husband sells the instrument to his neighbour, George Baines. Attracted to Ada, Baines agrees to return the piano in exchange for a series of piano lessons that become a series of increasingly charged sexual encounters. Jane Campion’s exquisite The Piano remains the only female-directed film to have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

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The Receptionist (18) – Tue 7 Aug

Director: Jenny Lu. Starring: Teresa Daley, Chen Shiang-chyi. Duration: 102 min

Unable to find a job, Tina (Daley), a Taiwanese graduate living in London, starts working at an illegal massage parlour as a receptionist. As she comes to know the women in this most dysfunctional of artificial families, where sex lies at the core of everything, she sees how they struggle to find a way to make their lives work, with an undercurrent of violence and danger always lurking. Inspired by a true story, Jenny Lu’s The Receptionist is a powerful and award-winning exploration of dashed migrant dreams on Europe’s mean streets.

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post (15) – Wed 22 Aug

Cameron Post
Cameron Post

Director: Desiree Akhavan. Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jennifer Ehle, Sasha Lane. Duration: 91 min

Cameron Post (Moretz) looks like the perfect high-school girl. But after she’s caught making out with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night, she’s sent to a conversion therapy centre for teens ‘struggling with same-sex attraction’. Despite the facility’s outlandish discipline and dubious ‘de-gaying’ methods, Cameron finds her place among fellow outcasts.

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Pin Cushion (15) – Tue 28 Aug

Director: Deborah Haywood. Starring: Loris Scarpa, Lily Newmark, Joanna Scanlan
Duration: 82 min

Eccentric single mother Lyn and her teenage daughter Iona move to a new town hoping to make a fresh start. Their relationship treads a fine line between heartbreakingly tender and unsettlingly creepy. As Iona tries desperately to fit in with the cool clique at school, she distances herself from Lyn, whose hunchback and distinctive dress sense make her an easy target for mockery. As a rift grows between the pair, they retreat further into their respective fantasy worlds with disastrous consequences.

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Women Over Fifty Film Festival Presents… Tue 4 Sep

Duration: 87 min

As #MeToo and #TimesUp shine a light on the film industry’s dark side, Women Over 50 Film Festival fights back. Short films that amuse, astound and agitate, celebrating the work of older women on both sides of the camera.

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The Rider (18) – Tue 11 Sep

Director: Chloé Zhao. Starring: Tim Jandreau, Brady Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau. Duration: 104 min

Chloé Zhao’s second feature The Rider, is set in South Dakota and focuses on the broken dreams of a young cowboy. Performed by non-actors and partly based on their real-life experiences, The Rider is a superbly constructed portrait of frustrated youth and American cowboy culture, beautifully shot by cinematographer Joshua James Richards (God’s Own Country).

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The Wife – Wed 26 Sep

Director: Bjorn Runge. Starring: Christian Slater, Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce. Duration: 100 min

Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) has spent forty years sacrificing her own talent, dreams and ambitions to support her charismatic husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce) and his stellar literary career. Ignoring infidelities and excuses made in the cause of his art, she has put up with his behaviour with undiminished grace and humour. The foundations of their marriage have, however, been built upon a set of uneven compromises and Joan has reached a turning point. Based on the book by Meg Wolitzer.

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