Women Through a Women‘s Lens

Women make no good genre films. Women are not awarded at key film festivals. There is one female screenwriter and director to nine male screenwriters and directors…Similar stereotypes have been predominant in the image of the world cinematography until they have been symbolically destroyed after the last Academy Award triumph of filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow. This week, female directors also rule the Doc Alliance Films portal. The portal presents films overflowing with empathy, intuition and a sensitive sense of humour by renowned Czech female documentarists Olga Sommerová and her daughter Olga Špátová, Erika Hníková, Lucie Králová and others...

The best films by female directors are supposedly about women. Their superior qualities frequently include skilfulness in the psychological genre as well as the ability to depict their protagonists in a plastic way. If combined with a lucky choice of the protagonist, a miracle can happen. If the protagonist is female, the miracle tends to be even greater. Unique moments of sympathy and intimacy occur that can presumably only be established among women.
It is the female protagonists that often become the target of renowned female documentarist, lecturer and feminist Olga Sommerová. She is not reluctant to put women that are both appreciated and damned by the society in front of her camera. In any event, she approaches them as a perceptive observer who is able to depict their life story without excessive judgment or intervention. She has succeeded to do so even in case of protagonists as complex as the incorrigible recidivist Máňa Lavičková in her film Máňa Ten Years After. In her film My 20th Century (available with English subtitles), Olga Sommerová becomes a sensitive listener who gives the maximum of space to three artists. The triple portrait of immensely vital and creative retired women Soňa Červená, Adriena Šimotová and Lenka Reinerová, who have experienced the historical twists of the past century, represents a fascinating private chronicle of the Czech nation. On one hand, Sommerová is able to remain in the background at the right moment, while she is also able to honestly and openly step in front of the camera at other moments. She is not afraid to show her emotional reaction during the interviews with her protagonists and even allows her daughter Olga Špátová to focus the camera lens on her during an intimate mother-daughter dialogue in (Un)Censored Dialogues. Similarly, Tereza Kopáčová becomes a protagonist in her film Thirty-Three Years of Age, Ladies following a group of former female fellow students from grammar school now reliving their life victories and escapades.
Energetic and varied portraits of women by prominent Czech female documentarists are not the only offer of the www.docalliancefilms.com for this week. The portal further presents five perspectives of the Czech Republic in the past ten years. These include I Guess We’ll Meet at the Eurocamp by Erika Hníková as well as the appreciated documentary Sold and the observational project Czech Hump by Lucie Králová. All of these three have English subtitles. There, the directors prove that they are not only empathic listeners but also playful commentators who are able to deal with tragicomic situations as well as to employ a sensitive and elaborated stylization.


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Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.