Understanding women in films

Debarati Palit Singh
Wednesday, 13 March 2019

TIFA Working Studios, in collaboration with NFAI, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, The Heritage Lab and Art + Feminism, has organised a festival which looks into the portrayal of women in cinema

Are women perceived by society the same way today as they were perceived decades ago? TIFA Working Studios, in collaboration with National Film Archive of India, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, The Heritage Lab and Art + Feminism, is hosting a festival to celebrate women in transnational cinema. The three-day festival will be held from March 15 to 17 at NFAI and TIFA Working Studios. 

The festival will include film screenings, presentations, panel discussion, a multi-channel film installation and a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. Says Trishla Talera, Director, TIFA Working Studios, “We essentially work on general issues with different artists and film researchers. Adrian Meusch, a film researcher from Germany, is currently working with us. He has worked on the history of cinema and its effect on modern society as also how much the portrayal of women has changed in film history, considering the environment around us is changing.” She adds that biases against women still exist and they are shown in a certain manner on screen. “Adrian has found that international women are represented in a particular manner,” Talera says. 

The festival will screen iconic films like Achhut Kannya (directed by Franz Osten, 1936) which starred Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar; Subarnarekha (directed by Ritwik Ghatak, 1965) which starred Madhabi Mukherjee; Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform, directed by Leontine Sagan, 1931) among others. 

The discussion will have panelists like Anjali Menon (Women in Cinema Collective), Dr Vaishali Diwakar (Professor) and Vatsala Sharma (Art director & researcher).

Talera says that the Pune Edit-a-thon at Kelkar Museum is inviting female writers to join a writing and editing session that is dedicated to Wikipedia articles related to women in cinema. “Less than 10 per cent of Wikipedia editors are women — as per a survey of the Wikipedia Foundation in 2011. This gender bias on the popular online platform matters, as women writers may highlight different topics, interests and perspectives, that will stay otherwise under-represented. A glance at the global film canon reveals a similar scenario; in multiple lists, only a few films by female filmmakers can be found,” read a statement by the organisers. 

The festival is free and open for all.

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