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Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival 2006

Kim Longinotto

Astra Film Fest 2006 celebrates the work of Kim Longinotto a special program.

The program presents five films by Kim Longinotto, internationally aclaimed and renowned for dealing with women issues by creating an extraordinary human portraits and tackling controversial topics with sensitivity and compassion.

Documentary films may be an unlimited genre, but the subjects fall into a limited number of categories. Documentary films are likely to give voice to people in distress: minority groups of all kinds - ethnic, sexual, religious, cultural etc. People who walk against the mainstream, and who oppose the establishment often become characters in documentary films. In many circumstances, women can be regarded as a group in distress. But even if they do not find themselves in extreme situations, the competition between women and men takes place in a men's world that still dictates the rules of the game. Director Kim Longinotto points out in an interview that people always notice that she films women, but they never realize that most films are only about men.

The habitué od Astra Film Fest will definitely enjoy meeting again Kim Longinotto's films. The special programme on women issues includes five titles of her filmography..

Divorce In Iranian Style

Director: Kim Longinotto, Ziba Mir-Hosseini
Country: .U.K./ Iran
Year: 1998
Length: 80
This film is set in the Family Law Courts in central Tehran. The three main characters are Jamileh who punishes her husband for beating her, Ziba, a 16 year old girl who is trying to get a divorce from her 38 year old husband, and Maryam who is fighting for the custody of her daughters. The film moves away from portraying Iran as a country of war, hostages and Fatwas. It concentrates instead on ordinary women who come to this court to try and transform their lives.
The Good Wife of Tokyo

Director: Kim Longinotto, Claire Hunt
Country: U.K.
Year: 1976
Length: 59

Kazuko Hohki goes back to Tokyo with her band, the ‘Frank Chickens’, after living in England for 15 years. This wry and delightful film records her re-experiencing of Japan after a long absence, examining traditional attitudes to women and those of Kazuko’s friends who are trying to live differently.

Pride of Place

Director: Kim Longinotto
Country: U.K.
Year: 1976
Length: 59
A rarely seen classic, PRIDE OF PLACE was made as as a first project while Longinotto was a student at England’s National School of Television and Film. As a teenager, the filmmaker had been condemned to a girls' boarding school in an old, isolated castle in Buckinghamshire. Wisely, she ran away at the age of 17, and years later took the opportunity for sweet revenge. In this dark and expressive film, Longinotto exposes the repressive school from the students’ perspective-as a kind of miniature state with bizarre rules, indigestible food and absurd punishments. One year after the release of the film, the boarding school was closed down. With Pride of Place, Longinotto sets the tone for a long career of films in which individuals revolt against oppressive authorities and stifling traditions.
Shinjuku Boys

Director: Kim Longinotto, Jano Williams
Country: U.K.
Year: 1997
Length: 54
A film about love and gender. This film is set in the New Marilyn night club in Tokyo where all the hosts are women who have decided to live as men. They make their living by working in a club with other ‘onnabe’ like them. The young women who come there often have relationships with them but the underlying fear is whether such a relationship can withstand the pressures on a girl to get married and have children.
Sisters in Law

Director: Kim Longinotto, Florence Ayisi
Country: U.K.
Year: 2005
Length: 104
Six year old Manka has run away from home, fleeing her abusive aunt. Sonita has daringly accused her neighbor of rape. Amina has decided to end her brutal marriage by taking her husband to court. Set in Kumba, a small town
in Southwest Cameroon, Sisters in Law follows the work of the female State Counsel and Court President as they try to help women to change their lives. Incredibly moving and at times disturbing, Kim Longinotto's latest film spectacularly encompasses courage, hope, and the possibility of change. Longinotto is known for her insightful, compassionate studies of women's lives, and the pull between tradition and change.