Mosaic / October 23, 2008

Spanish film festival explores female perspectives

Across the globe, women have been making significant movies without the opportunity to expose their messages to the rest of the world. However, this weekend at the Orpheum Theatre, Family Dynamics and Body Politics, a film festival centered around women directors of the Spanish-speaking world, will be presented to not only bring a unique cultural opportunity to the Knox/Galesburg community, but also to expose films by female directors.

Each of the six films to be shown are from this decade and were successful in their home countries, the better to showcase the works of current and up-and-coming female directors.

The movies all share a common theme, and, according to festival coordinator and Associate Professor of Spanish, Robin Ragan, “The women in the films struggle with how society interprets their bodies. There is some aspect which society finds objectionable, unsettling, or confusing about their bodies.”

The expression of female desire is also portrayed in these movies as it relates to society’s views, and, on the other side of that, family is also a significant part of the films. It is at the family level where many of these problems and convictions are based or exacerbated.

One of the films, Take My Eyes, follows the difficulties of overcoming an abusive relationship. Several of the others, such as Madeinusa, The Holy Girl, and Real Women Have Curves focus on the challenges met by girls in their teens as they struggle with adolescence. There’s even a comedy: Compassionate Sex shows the change a middle-aged woman makes when she decides to leave her religious life behind and start sinning.

All of the films will be presented at the historic Orpheum, chosen by Ragan for quite a few reasons.

“I wanted to use the Orpheum because I wanted to make sure community members felt welcome,” said Ragan. “I also think the building is so beautiful, and I wanted to support a local business.”

All of the films are free of charge and open to the public. They begin this Friday with Take My Eyes, with opening remarks by Jan Lisa Huttner, Chicago film critic and founder of Women in the Audience Supporting Women Now, and end on Sunday evening with The Holy Girl.

Even for people who are familiar with the world of Spanish-speaking films may find these films different and thought provoking this weekend.

“Many film buffs may be well-versed in Bunuel or Almodovar films, but few have seen the works of directors like Iciar Bollain,” Ragan said.

Devinne Stevens

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