GIRLS ON FILM 3: GODDESSES - Short Film Collection
Following on from Peccadillo Pictures’ huge success with their Boys On Film collections, the studio has recently started its Girls On Film collections too. In this its third collection, subtitled “Goddesses”, eight award-winning short films have been gathered together from across the world made by women, for women, exploring female desire, empowerment and the realities of being a woman, a lesbian and a feminist in the modern world. The collection kicks off with the titular film, GODDESS 🇮🇳, from India. A young woman lives with her conservative mother and her beautiful maid, with whom she is having an affair. But as she grows bolder with her activities away from home, she also becomes reckless in concealing their tryst from her mother. An interesting depiction of femininity, sexuality and class in modern India, this piece is a fascinating snapshot that leaves wanting to see much more of the freedom she has discovered away from home. Next is Argentinian THE SWEDISH COUSIN 🇦🇷. Following a girl just before her Quinceañera we watch as she suddenly finds herself more attracted to her rebellious and wayward cousin’s tomboyish ways than the girly femininity she had grown up with. A coming of age piece that adeptly captures burgeoning womanhood, it bubbles with silent desire, taking as much from the unsaid as from the said. British BABY GRAVY 🇬🇧 comes next, depicting two women who are trying to have a baby together. Set in a roadside pub as they wait for the sperm donor to arrive, tensions run high between the pair, as they try to deal with the enormity of their situation. A well-written character comedy drama, the situation is delightfully played for all its simmering potential with its leads giving able performances to drive this light snapshot of 21st Century Britishness. Next up is Senegalese THE OTHER WOMAN 🇸🇳, which explores the relationship between the two wives of the same man. Initially disliking each other, they find in each other a kinship, which then blossoms into something more. A beautifully tender piece about the delicacy of love in the viscerally vibrant Senegal, this has a strong voice and is a moving romance. LOVE LETTER RESCUE SQUAD 🇺🇸 is a short documentary about the Lesbian Herstory Archives, in which two women founded a collection of the records of the community that they felt had previously had no historical voice. Now, the group must decide what happens to the collection 40 years on. A loving portrait of groundbreaking institution, this is yet more evidence of the pioneering work of a generation who did all they could to give prominence to LGBT voices. Next is Israeli ONE LAST STAND 🇮🇱, which depicts a young lesbian who is leaving Israel for Berlin the next day and shows her last night Tel Aviv. With her lover, she stands up to authority, fights with police and has to stand up to the consequences overnight in a police station. A depiction of angered militancy that allows itself to be examined, it’s refreshing to see this kind of character holding a mirror up to herself where normally the filmmaker treats them with far too much reverence. Polish PUSSY 🇵🇱 comes next, which is an animated film about a girl obsessed with masturbation, before her vagina decides it has a life of its own and runs away from her, needing to be treated more kindly. An exploration of desire and pleasure, all depicted through simple felt top drawings. Though the animation is not flashy whatsoever, this is a filmmaker taking an idea and RUNNING with it and ends up pretty effective as a result. Just like a disembodied vagina. The collection concludes with Swedish MOMS ON FIRE 🇸🇪, an stop-motion animated piece about two girls in the late stages of pregnancy who are trying to pass the time until they have their babies. Neglecting their older children, they do everything they’re not supposed to during pregnancy, adeptly depicting the lazy hedonism of professional benefits claimants, showing how the least of their concerns is the wellbeing of their children. Like The Royle Family made of plasticine, this is drole and distasteful in equal part, making for a fantastic ending to a greatly diverse collection. Together, Girls On Film 3 is a good compendium of short films from all over the world. The diversity of its sources is its biggest strength, while most of its films are of a very high standard. THE OTHER WOMAN and MOMS ON FIRE are probably its best pieces, but once again, Peccadillo has assembled a fantastic rostra of filmmaking talent for release in the UK.