The Company of Strangers (1990)
This movie utilises the real-life stories of the all-female cast in the construction of the story, which looks at senior citizens coming together for a trip. When the coach has broken down in the countryside, the only thing they can do is get to know one another and work together for their own survival. Each woman is over 70 years of age, the younger and black driver aside, and come from various backgrounds and cultures, including a nun, a lesbian, a middle-class widow, and a Native American woman.
The women engage in conversations, with many being improvised and based on the experiences of the actors, dealing with such issues as marriage, live, celibacy, racism, and ageing. The women’s spirit is inspirational as they endure hunger, extreme heat, and exhaustion. The movie focuses on a female group that is underrepresented in film: older women.
The Day I Became a Woman (2000)
There are a number of female directors in contemporary Iranian cinema. One of them is Marzieh Meshkini. The film comprises three episodes, each telling the story of a woman at a different stage in her life. The first episode revolves around Hava, a young girl whose ninth birthday is just around the corner- the moment that she must say goodbye to her childhood and stop playing with boys.
The next episode is about Ahoo, a young married woman who takes pity in a female-only bicycle race, against the wishes of her family. The third and final episode is about an older lady by the name of Hoora who goes on a shopping spree in a bid to buy everything she’s never been able to have. Each vignette illustrates the thwarted desire and the disappointment that women go through.
The Headless Woman (2008)
This film tells the story of a middle-class, middle-aged woman who is the victim of a car accident, suffers a concussion, and later is concerned that she had hit, and maybe even caused the death of, a boy. It’s also a political parable that concerns itself with the ‘disappeared’: the left-wing students, activists, and trade unionists who went missing in the 1970s under Argentinian dictatorship. The structure of the film works so that the audience feels the frustration and confusion of the central protagonist, Vero. Her husband knows that she may have been responsible for a boy’s death and covers up any evidence without telling her. The film links racism within society to the disempowered position of females within the family unit.
Much of the film’s action is filmed ether out of frame, in the rain, or through glass, which keeps both Vero and the audience in the dark. Evidence is systematically withheld, with Vero and the audience never really sure what has happened. The truth can only be realised by taking what truth remains and piecing it together. In trying to discover what she’s done, Vero comes to understand the control in the world and the mechanisms of power.