Dublin Feminist Film Festival screens terrific ‘The Seen and Unseen’

Few women have senior creative roles in film. Kamila Andini’s movie is an exception

The Seen and Unseen, directed by Kamila Andini

The Seen and Unseen, directed by Kamila Andini

 

Earlier this year Rachel Morrison was nominated for an Academy Award in the cinematography category for her work on Mudbound, thereby becoming the first woman to grace the shortlist since the Oscars began in 1929.

Three years in to Screen Ireland’s vital “Six Point Gender Plan”, there’s some visible progress towards its stated aim of “encouraging female writers, directors and producers”.

Aoife O’Toole, the programmer of the Fifth Dublin Feminist Film Festival (DFFF) is all to familiar with the larger, grimmer industry picture. For all the chatter around Wonder Woman, Lady Bird, Girls’ Trip, I, Tonya and other female-led box office successes last year, women constituted just 18 per cent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films last year.

The isolated figures for cinematography make for the most depressing statistics of all. In the same year that Rachel Morrison made history with her Oscar nod, women accounted for a mere 4 per cent of cinematographers.

Various initiatives – including Cinematographers XX in the US, Illuminatrix in the UK, and the International Collective of Cinematographers – are working hard at improving diversity behind the camera, to undermine the once heterogeneous male gaze. The DFFF, too, has responded with a diverse festival programme with a particular emphasis on camerawork.

This year’s event will culminate with welcome repertory screenings of Lucia Puenzo’s XXY (2006), featuring the work of director of photography Natasha Braier who went on to shoot The Rover, The Neon Demon, and the incoming Gloria Bell and Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson, a compelling 2016 chronicle of the frontline career of the woman who shot Fahrenheit 9/11, Citizenfour, Darfur Now and This Film Is Not Yet Rated.

The main event, however, is the Irish premiere of The Seen and Unseen, the second feature directed by Kamila Andini, arriving seven years after her acclaimed debut, The Mirror Never Lies, and featuring the extraordinary, fairytale compositions of director of photography Anggi Frisca.

Traditional Bali arts and practises, beaches and vendant forests with large monkey populations, and spooky moonscapes frame a terrific film about the connection between a young twin brother and sister, a connection that illness and death does little to sever.

Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini is optimistic that The Seen and Unseen is part of a larger shift: “I think the number is not the only indicator we should measure on women’s contribution,” she says. “Women have a more complex role and priority that needs to be considered on qualifying their contributions.

“However, space and opportunity for women directors should always be encouraged and pushed forward. I think the number of women directing film will increase directly proportional with number of feminist men who gives as much space for their daughter, niece, sister, wife to do anything they love to do.”

The Seen and Unseen is at the Light House Cinema on Thursday, November 22nd at 6pm; see info@dublinfeministfilmfestival.com