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Lindsay R. Bellinger


Lindsay is a film journalist and an aspiring playwright currently based in Berlin.

Attending film festivals, reviewing films and collecting vinyl keeps her busy. Let her know what you think of her reviews.^^


Berlin Feminist Film Week - closing night with Roan and Angels Wear White

(Berlin Feminist Film Week 2019 © Lindsay Bellinger)




The Berlin Feminist Film Week closed out their 6th consecutive year last night, after having an eventful seven-day run filled with screenings with q&a's, panels and workshops. This particular film festival was founded in 2014 by Karin Fornander and has steadily grown in popularity with each passing year. This year's Feminist Film Week started with a sold out screening of Desiree Akhavan's film The Miseducation of Cameron Post accompanied by Julia Fuhrmann's short film Riot Not Diet on March 7th at one of my favorite cinemas in the city, Babylon Kino. Last night's closing screening of Vivian Qu's Angels Wear White, a neo-noir mystery set in a rural Chinese beach town, and the announcement of the Berlin Activist + Feminist Film Fund recipient and the Audience Award 2019 also took place at Babylon, which was a real treat for me. Anytime I get a chance to watch a film, performance or World Cup screening (with live organist) at Babylon is a perfect day for me. Talented organist Anna Vavilkina was also there last night, entertaining the crowds before the beginning of the festivities. She is a staple at Babylon's weekly Stummfilm um Mitternacht, when they screen free silent films with live organ every Saturday night/Sunday morning (depending on how you look at it) at midnight. 

Karin Fornander presented the Audience Award to Berlin filmmaker Thuy Trang Nguyen for her moving and personal short documentary Roan about her and her elderly Vietnamese grandmother who lives in Berlin-Reinickendorf. As Nguyen received the award it seemed as if she was surprised that they were screening her film again. She said that after receiving an email yesterday morning from Karin she wasn't really sure what to expect, but she was very honored and grateful for receiving the award. 
(Still from Roan, © Thuy Trang Nguyen)
One highlight of Thuy Trang Nguyen's 12-minute short film was a moment when Nguyen and her grandmother were lounging while looking at some books. Grandma told her to read aloud so when she "play read" her grandma teased about her not being able to read Vietnamese. Nguyen then handed the book over to her elder who then read to her. For some reason, movies and stories with grandparents always get to me, as I think that's usually the case for most viewers. They always hold a special place in our hearts. Roan really felt comfortable and not too chatty or scripted like some "documentaries" feel. 
There was a really pleasant mood in Saal 1 of Babylon, after Roan screened so that excitement only grew when we had our Skype video chat with the recipient of the Berlin Activist + Feminist Film Fund, Somalian London-based filmmaker Sadia Ahmed. She was super excited to talk to the audience and tell us all about her project Awakening. Although I've heard stories like this from different parts of the world but usually in fiction stories, it was alarming for me to hear her describe the situation for families in Somalia after someone (a woman) is raped or sexually assaulted the families just come to some sort of monetary agreement with the village elders agreeing and then nobody is punished in any greater way, through imprisonment or any other manner. Her documentary will follow a human rights lawyer in Somalia who helps rape survivors fight to get some sort of real justice. Her cinematographer was also in the audience. Berlin Feminist Film Week partnered up with Pakistani journalist, activist and documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and the global campaign organization Purpose for this particular film fund. A representative for Purpose was there to talk a little about how they helps activist, organizations and businesses to tell stories by supporting their movements and campaigns. Purpose reached out to Berlin Feminist Film Week to help create this film fund which is awarding Ahmed with a €10,000 grant to make her film and tell this story that needs to be told. 

(Angels Wear White still, © 22 Hours Films)

Angels Wear White, Chinese filmmaker Vivian Qu's sophomore film which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017 closed out the evening and the festival. The opening scene was a bit bizarre and took a bit to get used to because only when the camera zoomed out a little could one make out the big white-sandaled, red toenailed foot of Marilyn Monroe. The up-the-skirt shot on the statue was a bold statement that often came back to my mind throughout the film. The 4th edition of the Berlin Feminist Film Festival in 2017 screened Nanfu Wang's Hooligan Sparrow, which also covered a similar story of the abuse of two elementary school girls and the way the authorities handled the situation. 

(2019 © Berlin Feminist Film Week)


About Lindsay R. Bellinger

With Dieter Kosslick during his last Berlinale.

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