As International Women’s Day nears, once again the fight for women’s rights and gender equality moves to the forefront. Gone are the days where rose-colored platitudes and advertisements for discount washing machines fill the air; the conversation has shifted back to its origins, highlighting the struggles and the successes of the feminist movement, both in Argentina and beyond.
Just one of the myriad ways to get involved at the local level is by supporting women in the arts. For the second consecutive year, Cine Gaumont and INCAA will be host to the Week of Female Argentine Directors from March 7-13, screening films directed by Argentine women at theaters across the country.
Gender inequality is rife across all industries and cultures, and the business of filmmaking is no exception. According to research published in the 2018 Celluloid Ceiling report, in the United States women accounted for 8 percent of directors working on the top 250 films in 2018, down 3 points from 11 percent in 2017. Just 1 percent of films employed 10 or more women as directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, or cinematographers. In contrast, 74 percent of films employed 10 or more men in those same positions.
Though these statistics are improving – albeit slowly – there is still a long way to go when it comes to achieving true gender parity and representation, both in front of the camera and behind it.
This year’s programming features seven films and was supervised by Cecilia Barrionuevo, director of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, in association with a variety of women’s film industry groups. Things will kick off on March 7th at 8 PM with Las Hijas de Fuego, directed by Agustina Carri and selected as the winner of Best Argentine Film at the 20th anniversary of BAFICI film festival last year. Every Saturday and Sunday in March, there will also be a special focus on two iconic Argentine actresses, Libertad Lamarque and Tita Merello, with screenings of Los Isleros (Lucas Demare), Eclipse de Sol (Luis Saslavsky), La Madre María (Lucas Demare), and Besos Brujos (José Agustín Ferreyra).
Other films that have been selected are: Yo Niña, the first feature-length film by noted short filmmaker Natural Arpajou, Sangre Blanca, a thriller by Barbara Sarasola-Day starring Eva de Dominici and Alejandro Awada, and La Cama, directed by Mónica Lairana and starring Sandra Sandrini and Alejo Mango. To round out the lineup, Julia y el Zorro by Inés Barrionuevo tells the story of a 40-year-old former dancer as she holes up in the mountains of Córdoba with her young daughter as she grieves the loss of her husband; Familia Sumergida by María Alché starring Mercedes Morán; and finally El Silencio es un Cuerpo que Cae, a documentary by Agustina Comedi that works to unravel the mysteries and truths behind her father Jaime’s life, sexual identity, and political activism in the 1980s.
In a perfect world, you’d take the week for yourself and see every single one of the films, but we know that’s probably not a reality (someone’s gotta pay the bills, right?). Aside from the critically acclaimed Las Hijas de Fuego, we’ve got our eyes on Yo Niña and Familia Sumergida, though the gut-wrenching heartbreak of a married couple packing up their home before separating for good, as portrayed in La Cama, has also piqued our interest.
If for some reason you can’t make it down to the theater – though we highly recommend that you do – you’re in luck. During the whole month of March, online streaming platform CINE.AR will offer three female-focused categories: feature films curated by Gafas Violetas, “Divas of Argentine Film,” and “Female Argentine Directors,” showcasing feature films, documentaries, series, and shorts created by women. The best part of CINE.AR is that everything is free! That’s right, you’ll be able to stream from any web browser, smartphone or tablet (both iOS and Android), or Smart TV.