CFS Extra: A Woman’s Eye

 

CFS Extra is our label for a mini-season of three films within the programme that fall outside our normal remit of ‘recent world cinema’. This year the theme is ‘A Woman’s Eye’, a celebration of films directed by women.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Jane Campion became the first – and thus far, only – female filmmaker to receive the top prize at Cannes, when she was awarded the Palme d’Or for The Piano in 1993It tells of a mute woman, shipped to New Zealand to enter a loveless marriage with a frontiersman, who is desperate to keep hold of her beloved grand piano. Holly Hunter (Ada) and Anna Paquin (her young daughter Flora) both won acting Oscars, while Campion won best original screenplay and was nominated for best director. This tempestuous and spectacular drama will be shown in a newly remastered version. The best-selling score is by Michael Nyman.

Deepa Mehta is an Indo-Canadian screenwriter, director and producer, whose work has been called courageous, provocative and breathtaking. Water, from 2005,is a hauntingly tragic story, set in Benares (also known as Varanasi) in north-east India. It tells of a child bride, widowed at the age of eight, who is forced to enter a house of widows and stay there for the rest of her life. The film was to have been shot in India, but Hindu fundamentalists started riots, burnt sets, and issued death threats against the director and actors, who were forced to leave the country. It was eventually filmed in Sri Lanka. We are showing the newly remastered version of Water, not available on general distribution in the UK.

 

Belgian-born Agnès Varda celebrates her 90th year in 2018.  She began her career as a photographer before making her first feature in 1954, ahead of her male associates in the French new wave. We are showing her 1985 feature, Vagabond (Sans toit ni loi), which tells of the tragic final weeks of Mona, a young female drifter, played by Sandrine Bonnaire. Varda has been a restless experimenter throughout her long career. Vagabond, which she wrote, directed and edited,is composed of a series of episodes in Mona’s life, each presented from a different person’s perspective in documentary-style interviews. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1985.