Earlier this week, to mark the anniversary of the death of Virginia Woolf, Chinese movie-focused streaming service Montage unveiled “To Be a Woman,” a “feminist short film showcase” featuring 10 works that offer “a thoughtful cinematic exploration of what it means to be a woman in China today.”
Running until April 11, the films are free to the general public and have been selected by Shanghai-based director Lv Yao, who has previously served as a curator for the Berlin Short Film Festival and as a juror for the Shanghai Short Film Festival.
According to Montage, “Following Simone de Beauvoir’s framework of Childhood, Adolescence, Youth, Middle Age, and Old Age, Lv Yao has selected ten films by ten different women directors who draw from their own lived experiences to tell the stories of women moving through these different life stages. Through these intimate vignettes, viewers will attain a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be a woman today.”
100 Films to Watch to Help You Understand China
The collection of films explores stories of love and hope, and tackles themes ranging from sexual assault to patriarchal pressures on young women to leave their jobs and be stay-at-home mothers. The independent filmmakers behind the shorts hail from all over China and include award-winning directors and some who are still students. It’s a diverse, intriguing offering.
If you want to dig into the online showcase further — and can understand Mandarin — Montage is hosting two discussions around the films featuring some of the directors who made them. One is on April 2 at 7 PM PDT and moderated by director and producer Han Xia; the other is on April 11 at 7 PM PDT and hosted by Gentle Human podcast host Cher.
For more details and to watch the free films, check out “To Be a Woman” on Montage here. And don’t forget that RADII readers can get a discount on Montage’s paid offerings with the code RADIICHINA, valid until the end of 2021.
Cover photo: a still from Xiong Linrui’s Praying (courtesy Montage)
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