Let’s put this second 100 films made by women series to bed. We close with short films of intrigue and features of love. Find the whole lot and more under the female filmmakers section.
Volta (2015) – Stella Kyriakopoulos
Born in New Jersey, Greek film-maker-and-editor Stella Kyriakopoulos was raised in Athens, and these days resides between New York and Greece. Her first, and the nation’s, visit to the Sundance short film competition in 2015 resulted in her receiving the Women in Film in Los Angeles Award for her short film Volta. Telling the intriguing and simple tale of a mother and daughter ambling around parts of Athens. Kyriakopoulos drew inspiration from her own experiences as the people of Greece were suffering losses during the recent financial crisis.
A Day’s Plead (2014) – Linda Fenstermaker
To say this is disorientating is an under-statement, Linda Fenstermaker shakes up your vision, and gets your brain working harder than usual, editing together with rapid cuts of similar spots of a house. Parts of a map, a closing and opening door, the shapes of window frames and walls, blending color with black and white. Objects appear to subconsciously reinvent their meaning in front of our eyes, and as we try to make sense of the imagery, all in those few seconds. And it’s an empty house, isolated, the unease of such execution is skillful, but no good for my own anxiety.
A Million Miles Away (2014) – Jennifer Reeder
A Million Miles Away is a captivating short film written and directed by Jennifer Reeder, which merges multiple teenage girls and their spoken angst and chit-chat, with an adult woman, who seems lonely and fragile. The woman later turns out to be the teenagers’ substitute music teacher. The film, which runs just under the half hour mark, serves as a kind of spoken poem, a steady out-pour of thoughts and feelings relating to the particular speaker’s own insecurities or concerns. A composition of personal anguish – expressed in various ways including to an E.T. figure, and through a vocal Madonna rendition. All in all a fascinating experience. The second half of the film, as class begins, the troubled conductor faces the unsympathetic, but curious eyes, of the teenage girl choir. Their singing harmonies perfectly encapsulate the enigmatic emotions in the air. The girls soon develop into a kind of support system to the woman, and the adult and teenage world optimistically collide.
It Felt Like Love (2013) – Eliza Hittman
Another woman provides another tender tale of misunderstood teenagers. This time Eliza Hittman displays some bold and expressive film-making as she follows a teenager girl, Lila (Gina Piersanti), who wants to grow up in a big hurry, specifically allured by the sexual escapades of her more experienced girl friend. She soon learns the complications of adulthood by sheer curiosity and attempting to imitate her potential older self. It’s a fascinating transition from childhood to the world of an adult, and Hittman handles the exploration beautifully, albeit bringing a sense of danger to the teenage limbo phase of one’s life. The camera lingers around Lila, almost giving us her point of view, but the photography too is gorgeous to look at.
Goodbye First Love (2011) – Mia Hansen-Løve
The name Mia Hansen-Løve ought to be a household one, synonymous with quiet little films, emotional in impact, and honest in execution. Such delicacy and intimacy is there in Goodbye First Love (Un amour de jeunesse) from start to finish, this is instantly a film that beautifully slips into the blood stream, bouncing back and forth from the heart. Appearing in pretty much every scene, Camille (a sympathetic, yet assertive turn from Lola Créton), begins a teenager in love, transcends into a young woman at study and work, but never really loses that euphoria or heartbreak from the first love. Camille is quite an insecure girl, both in that initial adoration, and eight years on, scratching at the surface of her romantic companion’s locked feelings. She wants that reassurance, always has, ever since their rural romantic flourish before he set off for months to travel abroad. It’s not her fault, love like that creeps up on you, is hard to shake off, and does make you volatile. Camille is a tough cookie, wears her heart on her sleeve, but is not afraid to duck for the apples. It is testament to director Hansen-Løve and actress Créton that this thing called love is captured with such affecting sincerity.
Originally published in August 2016.