US Independent Women’s Cinema

On Thursdays from February 10 until March 17, Media Education and Research Center „Meno avilys“ invites to retrospective film program. „Rebellion, Love and Friendship: U.S. Independent Women‘s Cinema“ is a cycle of six screenings of films accompanied by talks by filmmakers, curators and critics. The events will take place in the cinema and media space „Planeta“ (A. Goštauto St. 2, Vilnius).

Book The Seat:

* 02 10 7:30 pm WANDA (dir. Barbara Loden, 1970, 102 min) / Introductory lecture by programmer, curator Herb Shellenberger (USA/GB)

With her first and only feature film—a hard-luck drama she wrote, directed, and starred in—Barbara Loden turned in a groundbreaking work of American independent cinema, bringing to life a kind of character seldom seen on-screen. Set amid a soot-choked Pennsylvania landscape, and shot in an intensely intimate vérité style, the film takes up with distant and soft-spoken Wanda, who has left her husband, lost custody of her children, and now finds herself alone, drifting between dingy bars and motels, and callously mistreated by a series of men—including a bank robber who ropes her into his next criminal scheme. A rarely seen masterpiece that has nonetheless exerted an outsize influence on generations of artists and filmmakers, Wanda is a compassionate and wrenching portrait of a woman stranded on society’s margins.

Film trailer:

* 02 17 7:00 pm GIRLFRIENDS (dir. Claudia Weill, 1978, 88 min) / Introduction by film critic and writer Courtney Duckworth

Filmmaker Claudia Weill created a nuanced character study rife with the interdependency—and ultimately, rich in the empowerment—found in female companionship. Shot on 16mm film stock that enhances its warm, lived-in interiors, Girlfriends’ primary concern is the evolving relationship between amateur photographer Susan and dabbling poet Annie as they awkwardly maneuver into the unknown world of careers, marriage, and independence. Adored by the likes of Stanley Kubrick and influential to an entire generation of storytellers, this timeless ode to the unique power of female kinship remains a delightful milestone of late-’70s feminist filmmaking.

Film trailer:

* 02 24 7:30 pm LOSING GROUND (dir. Kathleen Collins, 1982, 86 min)

The inimitable Kathleen Collins’ film tells the story of two remarkable people, married and hurtling toward a crossroads in their lives: Sara Rogers, a Black professor of philosophy, is embarking on an intellectual quest just as her painter husband, Victor, sets off on an exploration of joy. Victor decides to rent a country house away from the city, but the couple’s summer idyll becomes complicated by his involvement with a younger model. One of the very first fictional features by an African-American woman, Losing Ground remains a stunning and powerful work of art for being a funny, brilliant, and personal member of indie cinema canon.

Film trailer:

* 03 03 7:30 pm BORN IN FLAMES (dir. Lizzie Borden, 1983, 79 min) / Lecture on feminist movements and activism by curator and expert in political science Agnė Bagdžiūnaitė

Lizzie Borden’s groundbreaking feminist science fiction film imagines a near-future socialist United States, where women are still subject to repression and exploitation. A radical guerrilla group called the Women’s Army sets about to crush the patriarchal system and infiltrate the media. Made on a tiny budget and accompanied by a brilliant post-punk soundtrack, the film is portrayal of the politics of gender, race & class make the film as relevant now as it was in the 1980s.

Film trailer:

* 03 10 7:30 pm SINK OR SWIM (dir. Su Friedrich, 1990, 48 min) / Film will be screened via 16 mm reel

Through a series of twenty six short stories, a girl describes the childhood events that shaped her ideas about fatherhood, family relations, work and play. As the stories unfold, a dual portrait emerges: that of a father who cared more for his career than for his family, and of a daughter who was deeply affected by his behavior. Working in counterpoint to the forceful text are sensual black and white images that depict both the extraordinary and ordinary events of daily life. Together, they create a formally complex and emotionally intense film.

Film trailer:

* 03 17 7.30 pm DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (dir. Julie Dash, 1991, 112 min) / Introduction by film curator Karolis Žukas

With great lyricism, Daughters tells the story of a large African-American family as it prepares to move North at the dawn of the 20th Century. Using this simple tale, the film brings to life the changing values, conflicts and struggles that confront every family as they leave their homeland for the promise of a new and better future. In addition to this emotionally charged epic drama, Daughters of the Dust explores the unique culture of the Gullah people, descendants of slaves who lived in relative isolation on the Sea Islands off the Georgia coast. As the generations struggle with the decision to leave, their rich Gullah heritage and African roots rise to the surface.

Film trailer: