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Feminist Films and Documentaries pg. 2


Suffragette (2015)

Directed by Sarah Gavron, alongside a team of inspiring women filmmakers, SUFFRAGETTE is a thrilling drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement; women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. Radicalised and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality - their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud (Carey Mulligan) was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller and is both heartbreaking and inspirational.


At a time when gender equality is at the forefront of Australia’s national conversation, the story of SUFFRAGETTE is as relevant in 2015, as it was in the early 19th century. Australians were deeply involved in the movement, as we were the first nation in the world to give women the right to vote and stand for Parliament (1902). Australian Suffragettes, such as the iconic Vida Goldstein and Muriel Matters, were influentially involved in the UK suffragette cause - epitomized by ‘The Grille Incident’ of 1908, when Matters heroically chained herself to British Parliament to protest the iron grille that obscured the Ladies’ Gallery’s view of parliamentary proceedings. Matters was temporarily imprisoned but such resistances fueled the Suffragette’s determination to forge on – initiating a legacy that lives on today.


Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck is a 2015 American romantic comedy film directed by Judd Apatow and written by Amy Schumer. The film stars Schumer and Bill Hader along with an ensemble cast that includes Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton and LeBron James.

Ever since her father drilled into her head that monogamy isn't realistic, magazine writer Amy (Amy Schumer) has made promiscuity her credo. As much as she enjoys an uninhibited life free of commitment, Amy is really in a rut. While writing a profile about charming and successful sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), she finds herself actually falling in love for the first time -- and what's more, Aaron seems to like her too. Amy starts to wonder if it's time to clean up her act.


Shoulder to Shoulder (1974)

A 1974 BBC television mini-series relating the history of the women's suffrage movement. The TV series, directed by Waris Hussein and Moira Armstrong, dramatized the fight for the right to vote for British women. It covered the period from the 1890s to 1919 and followed the suffrage movement as it was influenced by the Pankhursts: Richard, Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia, and Annie Kenney.


Utopia Girls (2012)

Historian Dr Clare Wright leads us through the story of how Australia’s unique history bred an amazing group of rebellious women who each played crucial roles in shaping the destiny of the country. Utopia Girls tells the story of how Australian women attained political power and influence – in their own country and on the international stage – through the lives of these five remarkable and unique women. 


The Invisible War (2012)

Interviewing survivors of military rape, The Invisible War documents the culture of impunity which enables the military rape epidemic to flourish.

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature for 2014 Academy Awards.


It’s a Girl (2012)

A film addressing the problems of gendercide, primarily as observed in China and India, where more girls are aborted or killed as babies than are born in the entire United States. Following this imbalance, the trickle-down effects are explored: increases in prostitution, sex trafficking, and in China, the kidnapping of girls for brides. The UN estimates that 200 million girls are missing worldwide: It’s a Girl pieces together what may have happened to them.


Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women (2010)

Jean Kilbourne take a fresh look at American advertising, revealing the unceasing stream of sexist and misogynistic messages. The documentary challenges viewers to think critically about the effects of advertising on sexism, eating disorders, gendered and sexual violence, and contemporary politics.


The Line (2010)

A young woman is raped when a one night stand goes wrong. While trying to make sense of what happens, Nancy Schwartsman decides to document her experience and its relationship to political, legal and cultural questions of sex and consent, where victims are judged according to meeting the criterion of being a ‘perfect victim,’ and any deviation from this places the victim at fault.


Live Nude Girls Unite (2000)

Julia Query, professional stripper and feminist, follows the efforts of some 80 strippers as they unionise and protest to attempt to gain more employee rights in the strip club industry.


Makers: Women Who Make America (2013)

A film documenting stories of women’s contributions to important moments in the history of America.


Miss Representation (2011)

Calling out mainstream media for its often degrading and limited portrayals of all women, Miss Representation intersperses interviews with teenage girls with ones featuring famous women, demonstrating the statistics behind the opinions.



No Fire Zone (2013 – updated 2015)

A multi-award winning Emmy nominated feature documentary which tells the chilling story of the final 138 days of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war.  The story is told by the people who lived through the war and through someof the most dramatic and disturbing video evidence ever seen. TW: Graphic sexual violence.


No Woman No Cry (2010)

A documentary on maternal mortality and access to medical care around the globe, inspired by the director’s own experience nearly dying from postpartum hemorrhage.


One Nation Under God (1993)

A documentary which focuses on religious Right Wing proliferation of curative therapies for homosexuality, with historical context and politic analysis of the movement.


Outrage (2009)

A documentary on the hypocrisy of people purported to be closeted homosexual or bisexual politicians, who promote anti-gay legislation.


Paris is Burning (1990)

Filmed in the during the mid-late 1980s, Paris is Burning documents New York City ball culture, and the African-American, Latino, gay and trans communities involved. Adhering to a theme, contestants present and are judged on such criteria as their clothing, dancing ability, and the ‘realness’ of their drag.


Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013)

Moscow-based Russian feminist punk rock activist group staged a guerilla performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, creating a music video “Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” Three members of the group were arrested, denied bail and charged with “hooliganism inspired by religious hatred.” They faced up to seven years in prison.


The Punk Singer (2013)

An at-times lionising documentary focused on Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, from her musical origins in the Pacific Northwest to her work as one of the founders of the Riot Grrrl movement, celebrating Hanna’s place in the making of feminist art.


The Purity Myth: The Virginity Movement’s War Against Women (2011)

The film adaptation of Jessica Valenti’s best-selling book, The Purity Myth argues that conservative activists & politicians and evangelical Christians are deliberately creating irrational fear around young women’s sexuality to undermine women’s autonomy and remove rights.


Reel Herstory: The Real Story of Reel Women (2014)

Correcting the historic notions that women held only periphery roles behind the scenes in motion pictures, Reel Herstory begins with female film pioneers from 1896 and travels through to 2014, revealing the remarkable achievements of female film makers across the globe.


Reel Injun (2009)

Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond explores the portrayal of Indigenous Americans in film through excerpts from classic and contemporary portrayals of native people, and interviews with actors, film historians and filmmakers.


Ride the Balance (2014)

A documentary that explores gender bias in the music industry through interviews with female musicians.


Rights & Wrongs: The Story of Women in Islam (2012)

Exploring contemporary conditions of Muslim women, this documentary traces the roles of women back to their roles in Islam’s beginnings, exploring how different Islamic societies have justified their treatment of women, and debunking many myths.


She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014)

Uncovering the buried history of the women who founded the modern women’s rights movement, 1966-71.


She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column (2012)

A documentary about a group of young female artists from Toronto who united to defy conventional art practices, gender ideas and to challenge homophobia through music, film and self-publication in the early eighties.


Spin the Bottle: Sex, Lies & Alcohol (2004)

A documentary critique of the role that contemporary popular culture plays in the glamorization of high risk behaviors and excessive drinking by contrasting these representations with the real affects of alcohol consumption on young man and women.


The Square (2013)

An Egyptian-American documentary depicting the ongoing Egyptian Crisis from the 2011 revolution at Tahrir Square, through to 2013.


Status Quo: The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada (2012)

Combing archival material with contemporary stories, Status Quo explores the progress made on 45 year old problems in Canada: violence against women, universal childcare, and access to abortion.


Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity (1999)

Jackson Katz argues that the epidemic of male violence must be understood and looked at in the framework of a larger cultural crisis in masculinity, making the case that misogyny, violence and homophobia are inextricably linked to American cultural narratives of manhood.


The Mask You Live In (2015)

The film follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence.


Ukraine is Not a Brothel (2013)

Ukraine's topless feminist sensation Femen has created a media frenzy across Europe, but before they take the world by storm, these bold and beautiful women must confront the dark and perverse forces that power their organization.


Understanding Hookup Culture: What’s Really Happening on College Campuses (2013)

According to recent reports, ‘hookup’ culture is in the process of replacing traditional dating practices on university campuses, resulting in radical alterations to how young people think about sex and intimacy. This documentary aims to clarify the issue.


Veil of Tears (2014)

A documentary on the realities of life facing women in India, and efforts to counteract the tradition of oppression against them.


Vessel (2014)

Vessel focuses on Dr. Rebecca Gomperts’ work with the association ‘Women on Waves’, which exploits loopholes in maritime law to provide abortions for women who have no legal alternatives. Carrying out the abortions in international water, Gomperts refines her mission, training women in WHO-researched protocols and enabling them to give themselves abortions, leaving behind her a network of practically empowered activists.


War Zone (1998)

A documentary about street harassment, where Maggie Hadleigh-West interviews men on the streets, questioning their need to whistle at or make comments at passing women.


What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

A documentary film about the life of legendary singer, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone, the ‘High Priestess of Soul,’ using archival footage and never-before-heard recordings.


Whore’s Glory (2011)

A documentary examining the commodification of sex, Whore’s Glory shows the lives, challenges and hopes of prostitutes from three different cultures: Bangladesh, Thailand and Mexico.


Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines (2012)

A history of fictional female heroes in Western media from the creation of Wonder Woman to the present day.


The World Before Her (2012)

A documentary following two young women in India who are choosing very divergent paths in life: one prepares for competition to become Miss India, and the other trains as a militant Hindu Nationalist.


BBC mini-series on women:

Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power (Ep. 1-3)

Professor Amanda Vickery uncovers the three-centuries-long campaign by both women and men for political and sexual equality in Britain, recognising those who fought for the cause.


The Story of Women and Art (Ep. 1-3)

Professor Amanda Vickery delves into storerooms, convents and basements to uncover amazing female artists neglected by history, from Renaissance Italy to the Dutch Republic.


The Ascent of Women (Ep. 1-3)

An exploration of the changing influence and status of women through culture, religion and revolutions, from the first egalitarian societies of Sumer to the present day.



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