Film festival aims to highlight female struggle in China
The Third China Women’s Film Festival is happening in Beijing, with foreign and Chinese films portraying women’s lives and narratives.
By Maria Siow, Channel NewsAsia POSTED: 25 Sep 2015 11:26
BEIJING: This year’s China Women’s Film Festival aims to increase the public’s understanding of women through movies. There is an urgent need, according to organisers who say that China lacks awareness and public discussion of how women live their lives, and the struggles they face.
“Many Chinese female film directors live in a paternalistic society and become insensitive to women’s issues,” said chairman of the festival, Li Dan.
“We brought in foreign films with feminist themes but after Chinese female film directors watched them, they think only of wealth and social inequalities. They won’t see things from a gender perspective.”
Apart from raising awareness on women’s rights and discuss issues relating to gender inequalities, the festival also hopes to encourage a more open dialogue on these issues within China and beyond.
“Lotus” is one of the movies showcased at this year’s festival. It depicts the life and struggles of an art teacher seeking to fulfil her dreams in Beijing.
But with one disappointment after another in the face of harsh reality, Xiao He, or Lotus, is pushed to the point where she has to choose between her principles and her material comforts.
“This is a male-dominated society where almost all the resources and power are in the hands of men,” said director Liu Shin.
“Many movies reflect male angles and perspectives, as well as issues that interest men. There are too few female filmmakers who can offer their views and attitudes on how they perceive society.”
Organisers also have an additional wish for this year’s festival – to help the public better understand feminism.
“In March this year, five women activists were arrested. This has left a negative impression on Chinese understanding of women activism. They are left with the impression that feminist are extremists, and this mindset has become more popular. But this is not conducive to the understanding of feminism in China,” Li said.
Apart from Chinese movies, the festival also features films from Sweden, Poland, Austria, Croatia, Spain and Japan. After the film festival ends its run in the capital, it will tour six other Chinese cities including Chengdu and Guangzhou.