Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage: A Rousing Success
By Christina Schultz
The first edition of Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage organized by the Kinothek Asta Nielsen was a perfect example of Frauenpower (girl power) at its finest. The curators, Gaby Babic, Karola Gramann and Heide Schlüpmann, and the fabulous team members I was able to meet over the past 10 days (like the fabulous ladies Tina and Romina), worked tirelessly to make the festival a success, and a rousing one at that.
The program was so rich, spanning the entire history of women’s cinema (from Germaine Dulac to Amandine Gay) and intersecting with several movements within the women’s movement (women’s suffrage, women’s right to abortion, the students’ and workers’ movements, the struggle of women of color, etc.). The films screened were also of various lengths, genres and countries. And among the rather thick program (an impressive 53 pages), there were so many hidden gems to be discovered. And discover them I did.
That was one of the most impressive parts of the festival: the fact that so many movies were shown that had been forgotten (until now). The quality of the films might not have been the greatest - but the curators always explained, almost apologetically, the reason behind the lack of quality, and the audiences naturally didn’t mind because the content and the images made up for the old, grainy, discolored filmstock. The films in the Recha Jungmann retrospective are being restored, remastered and digitized (one of the many great things the Kinothek Asta Nielsen does), but even in “lesser” quality, the images were still so powerful. Another example was the film Für Frauen, 1. Kapitel. Ein Film für Frauen, von Frauen gemacht (For Women, Chapter 1. A Movie for Women, Made by Women; Cristina Perincioli, 1971). The 28-minute “docu-fiction” was bathed in a reddish tone, but it charmed and tickled the audience with its lay actors (all except for one trained actress), realistic working class premise and satisfying conclusion when the four main female characters go on strike, which almost turns the film into a 70s music video.
The guests who introduced the films were of local and international renown and everything in between. This is no easy task, but I think the right balance was struck. To name drop a bit, the speakers included British feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey of the “male gaze” fame, German filmmaker and professor Jutta Brückner, feminist activist Tatjana Turanskyj and co-founder of Pro Quote film (Germany’s version of Time’s Up), women’s rights activist Helen Pankhurst (yes, that Pankhurst family, as in Emmeline and Sylvia, the OGs of women’s suffrage), firey speaker and feminist politician Rosemarie Heilig (Green Party, Head of the Department for Environment and Women’s Affair in Frankfurt), the Filmlöwin feminist film critic Sophie Rieger and so many others.
The main festival locations - the Deutsches Filmmuseum and the Pupille - Kino in der Uni - were well decorated, inviting and spacious enough to hold post-screening receptions that offered ample opportunities to discuss and network. And I can personally say that the events I attended were thought-provoking and inspiring, empowering and uplifting, and perhaps more importantly, made me feel like I am part of something greater.
One of the post-film discussions (following the double-bill with the Perincioli film I described above) gave audience members the chance to compare the women’s movement of the late 1960s-early 1970s with the Time’s Up/MeToo movements of the 2010s. We are essentially fighting for the same issues (sadly) but in different ways. We, the younger generation, generally do not take to the streets and demonstrate - we take out our frustration on the Internet. This might lead us to feel more isolated, despite the ease of connectivity. In the 1970s, the Frankfurt Women’s Center, for example, organized bus trips to Holland for women who wanted an abortion, took part in demonstrations on the street and dedicated so much time to discussing women’s issues together as a community.
And that is, among all the other things I mention above, what the Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage provided: a chance for so many people (because, it should be noted that there were men among the festival attendees) to come together to discuss women’s issues, and of course feminist film.
I can already say I’m looking forward to next year’s festival!
Mark your calendars, Femfilmfans!
From November 2-11, 2018, the Kinothek Asta Nielsen proudly presents Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage (Remake. Frankfurt Women’s Film Days) in fabulous Frankfurt, Germany. It will be a celebration of women's rights and feminist filmmaking.
We couldn't think of a more exciting time to be a Femfilmfan!
Below is some information about the Frankfurt Women's Film Days in English
(the full text in German and in English can be found here; Christina edited the version you see below)
What's in a name?
The Kinothek Asta Nielsen has promoted film work by women for nearly twenty years, facilitating the discussion of gender relations in film. The Remake festival integrates a new event format into the Kinothek's previous work: a program focusing on film history, women's suffrage, female filmmakers and feminist film will unfold in a mixture of festival and symposium.
The name “Remake” refers to the connection with history that characterizes all the Kinothek’s work: films spanning more than a hundred years emerge anew in the perception of viewers when they are shown today. In other words, the presentation of the films, old and new, at this year's festival is in itself a form of film-making, that is, a re-make.
What awaits attendees?
The Remake festival program, taking place from 2-11 November 2018, will focus on the theme “100 Years of Women’s Suffrage – 50 Years of Feminist Film Making.” Plans include films, introductory lectures, discussions, and supporting events. The festival will consist of several parts, including films on the suffragette movement and on general 1910s and 1920s legal topics such as sexual offenses, matrimony and abortion. In addition, there will be films depicting the conflict-ridden transformation of women’s roles, and the change in their status vis-à-vis work and love. All these topics pervade feminist film work up to now, each perhaps weighted and perceived differently. Our program will extend from the early 20th century to the present; at the same time, we intend to raise awareness that women’s emancipation movements have existed not only in Western nations, but also in other parts of the world.
Remake also contains a program section that is dedicated to a female filmmaker whose work is threatened by oblivion and disappearance: Frankfurt filmmaker Recha Jungmann. The festival will screen her three feature films and a number of shorts, all produced between 1967 and 1981. Recha Jungmann will participate in discussions at the screenings.
History of Feminist Film Festivals
The festival program pays tribute not only to film history, but also to the history of feminist film festivals. The first of these, which took place in 1972 in New York and Edinburgh, were largely dedicated to the (re-) discovery of women filmmakers. Many of their works, which saw the light of projectors in the early 70s, have disappeared again, and copies can only be found with difficulty, if at all. Through revivals of past programs and conversations with their organizers, we will remember this history, from which our work has also emerged.
This year’s festival will therefore appropriately kick off with a retrospective featuring the “Women’s Event” of the 1972 Edinburgh International Film Festival. As a special treat, the women who brought the festival to life - Laura Mulvey and Lynda Myles (together with Claire Johnston (1940-1987)) - will be attending the festival as special guests.
Femfilmfans at the Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage
Our editor Christina will be attending many of the festival's events and film screenings. Over the coming weeks, she will be posting more information about the festival - feel free to send us an email or leave a question in the comments section below if you want to know more!
Once the festival is underway, Christina will then be posting updates and short reviews of the films and events on the Femfilmfans.com site, on Instagram and on Facebook. Click on the various links below to follow the action!
You might also like to visit the --> Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage <-- official website.
This link will take you to the festival's program (in German): remake-festival.de/programm.html