Women's power in movies

Filmic portraits of women available for streaming

Rafiki (2018)
Wanuri Kahiu
Kenya
83′
"Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives," but Kena and Ziki long for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.
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God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya (2019)
Teona Strugar Mitevska
North Macedonia
100′
Tell them you’re 24’, advises Petrunya’s mother as her daughter heads off to another interview. But Petrunya is 31; moreover, she has studied history, a subject that no one in Macedonia seems to need. So there she sits in front of her potential employer, a factory owner, who looks down on her floral dress and refuses to take her seriously. On her way home - naturally, she did not get the job - Petrunya decides to take the plunge. It is Epiphany and, like every year, the young men of the city are diving for the holy cross that the priest has thrown into the icy river. This time, Petrunya is quicker than everyone else and ends up holding the trophy aloft for the TV cameras. For one whole day and one night, she will defend the cross, accompanied by much public commotion and against the closed ranks of the male world. Teona Strugar Mitevska delivers an angry yet melancholic satire that questions the status of democratic change in Macedonian society and passes scathing judgement on representatives of the church, the judiciary and the media. The film’s sympathies are all with the determined woman who asserts herself against archaic traditions and paralysing opportunism.
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La belle et la meute (2017)
Kaouther Ben Hania
Tunisia
101′
During a student party, Mariam, a young Tunisian woman, meets the mysterious Youssef and leaves with him. A long night will begin, during which she’ll have to fight for her rights and her dignity. But how can Justice be made when it lies on the side of the tormentors?
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Aurore (2017)
Blandine Lenoir
France
90′
A French woman hits menopause, quits her job as waitress, and feels everything going downhill. But then she meets her old love from before she got married, had 2 daughters and got divorced. Is this a new beginning?This film is the story of the collective struggle to build this bridge. It is a celebration of human labour!
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Madagascar (1994)
Fernando Pérez
Cuba
48′
"I dream exactly what I live every day," a professor, bored with her mundane life, tells her therapist. But the visual evidence on screen at the start of "Madagascar" suggests that dreams are never that banal. Bicyclists crowd the street, riding to work in slow motion in a haunting, shadowy blue dawn. The 50-minute "Madagascar" has the resonance and eloquence of the best poetry, as it deftly turns an adolescent's search for identity into a metaphor for post-revolutionary Cuba. Laura is a professor at a shabby, stultifying college. Her daughter, Laurita, stops going to school, wishes to move to Madagascar and quickly races through several phases. One day, she looks like a heavy-metal fan, another like a bohemian who weeps at poetry and art. Slowly, she crosses the line from ordinary adolescent confusion to intense neurosis and beyond, finally becoming so obsessed with religion and good works that she brings 10 homeless children into the cramped house she shares with her mother and grandmother. The film's director, Fernando Perez, creates graceful scenes linked by the merest narrative thread. His compressed episodes make it clear that Laura and Laurita, pre- and post-revolutuonary women, share a desperate search for some purpose in life. When Laura looks wistfully at a photograph of herself in May 1969, it is a rare reference to her political dreams, yet Mr. Perez has created an extraordinary meditation on the lost promise of youth and revolution. (Caryn James, in The New York Times)
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Virgem Margarida (2012)
Licínio Azevedo
Mozambique
90′
1975, Mozambique’s rebirth. The young revolution sweeps the streets of Maputo from prostitutes and bad habits. Sent to re-education camps deep in the countryside, they will become "new women". Margarida, a sixteen year-old girl from the countryside, was mistakenly taken. This is their story. Women bounded by adversity.
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About Elly (2009)
Asghar Farhadi
Iran
112′
After having spent many years in Germany, Ahmad returns to his native Iran for a holiday. His friends from his student days organise a three-day break on the Caspian Sea. One of the party, a fun-loving woman named Sepideh takes the matter in hand. Unbeknown to the rest of the group, she has also invited a young woman named Elly, who is a nursery school teacher at her daughter’s kindergarten. Ahmad has just emerged from an unhappy marriage and is now divorced from his German wife. He would very much like to begin a new life with an Iranian woman. His friends are aware of his desire and it gradually dawns on them that this is why Sepideh has asked Elly to accompany them on their trip. The others all begin to lavish their attentions on Elly, singing her prai - ses unequivocally. But then, on the second day of their holiday, something happens and Elly disappears. All at once their light-hearted mood evaporates. The friends begin to agonise about the whys and wherefores of Elly’s disappearance, bringing to an abrupt end the sense of harmony that once pervaded their get-together. They contact Elly’s parents, but when they learn that they have no news of Elly’s whereabouts their anxiety begins to turn into panic. Carefully, the friends begin to go over the conversations of the previous day and their phone calls to Elly’s relatives, trying to identify a moment that could give them a lead. Finally, they blame Sepideh for having invited Elly in the first place and ruining their holiday. During the course of just two days, their opinion of Elly has turned about face. Until, on the last day of their holiday, the truth emerges.
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