Margaret Thatcher famously said that "Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't." Many filmmakers are so engrossed by characters who possess a genuine strength in personality that they feel the urge to share their fascination with their viewers. And it so happens that more often than not, their protagonists are women neither of whom seeks to make a point about being strong; they just are.
Panayiota is a 37-year-old illiterate housewife. To cope with the recession that has been affecting her family for some time, Panayiota for the first time in her life finds a job as a cleaner in a shopping mall. Despite the ruthlessness of her work-environment, she breaks free from domestic monotony and gradually gains the respect she never had from her family. But a series of layoffs starts at work and she will have to face again her personal dead ends.
Nikos Labôt • Greece • 2019 • 90′
In a deserted Macedonian village, Hatidze, a 50-something woman, checks her bee colonies nestled in the rocks. Serenading them with a secret chant, she gently maneuvers the honeycomb without netting or gloves. Back at her homestead, Hatidze tends to her handmade hives and her bedridden mother, occasionally heading to the capital to market her wares. One day, an itinerant family installs itself next door, and Hatidze’s peaceful kingdom gives way to roaring engines, seven shrieking children, and 150 cows. And soon Hussein, the family’s patriarch, makes a series of decisions that could destroy Hatidze’s way of life forever.
Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov • Russia • 2019 • 85′
Former child bride Laila Haidari, who had witnessed her brother’s long battle with drug addiction, devotes her life to helping the men and women in Kabul struggling with one of the deadliest problems in Afghanistan: heroin addiction. Determined and courageous, Laila takes initiative and fights to pull as many of the city’s addicts from their seedy environments and bring them to the treatment centre that she runs together with her brother. As financial aid dries up after the departure of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, leaving behind a corrupt government and a chaotic society, the centre survives through funds generated by a local restaurant that she runs, where the waiters are recovering drug addicts. Laila’s efforts are presented directly, as an observational documentary, with the camera unobtrusively following her on her journey to save some of these men and women. Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei • Canada • 2018 • 97′
Sicilian Letizia Battaglia began a lifelong battle with the Mafia when she first dared to point her camera at a brutally slain victim. A woman whose passions led her to become a photojournalist, she found herself on the front lines during one of the bloodiest chapters in Italy’s recent history. She fearlessly and artfully captured everyday Sicilian life to tell the narrative of the community she loved forced into silence by the Cosa Nostra.
Kim Longinotto • Ireland • 2019 • 94′
Аlina is a mother of seven: six are her own children and one is adopted. Her ex-husband is from Ethiopia, this is why all her children are of mixed origin. Only her adopted son is white, but he is psychologically unstable. Alina’s older children realize what complications the adoption might bring and are afraid that there won’t be enough room, time and love for everyone. This film is an epic panorama of a fight for love and an ode to motherhood.
Zosya Rodkevich, Evgeniya Ostanina • Russia • 2018 • 98′
A young woman named Alfinaz is the mother of two children. She prepares for a long journey. Her husband is a life prisoner and Alfinaz is an exemplary wife, always submissive and respectul to her husband. She is waiting for him, not losing hope for his release. The film tells us about the submissiveness of a wife to her husband and to God. It also touches the need to praise God no matter the hardships and the resignation of a woman who is destined to be a Wife.
Kirsten Gaynet • Russia • 2019 • 64′