Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

Fight for the woman

SF Norway is looking for a film with a "strong female figure". What is it?


[film] Women in, behind and around Norwegian film have been discussed up and in mind. The production company SF Norway is now announcing a competition for film script with strong, distinctive female characters. What does that mean?

Pippi Longstocking is the first to beat director Ingebjørg Torgersen. She is the chair of the Norwegian section of WIFT (Women in Film and Television), an international network that aims to empower and make visible women working in film and television. Torgersen points out the ambiguity of the term "strong". Weakness can be a strength.

- And maybe it is Annika, not Pippi, who is the strong one today, she thinks.

The major gender imbalances in the Norwegian film industry were thoroughly examined in the Cultural Brokers' report Speeches speech last year. It concluded that women are consistently under-represented behind the camera. So as before: When Maria's men are now going their first cinema days, with her female lead, it is a rule exception to Norwegian film fauna.

Wencke Mühleisen, a researcher at the Center for Women's and Gender Research at the University of Oslo, believes that the manuscript in the SF competition should preferably be considered in relation to more criteria than "strong women figures".

- The project should blow up the one-track notions of what is a strong female figure. Such a competition should also emphasize the theme, aesthetics, how the film is told. A film is not just a main role, says Mühleisen.

Torgersen agrees that we must change the notion of "the strong woman":

- The strong women in the film often end up taking their own lives, she says.

Mühleisen points out that the fatalistic aspect is particularly evident in film noir.

- Here she is often killed or married off – some would say it is the same thing.

Whether we should call the female figures distinctive, strong or just good – do we have any examples, something to follow? Torgersen mentions Ripley in the Alien movies, Selma in Dancer in the Dark, Thelma and Louise. Director Nina F. Grünfeld, who was chairman of the board of Norwegian Film Directors when Tales' Speech was presented, mentions directors such as Anja Breien, Liliana Cavani, François Ozon and Pedro Almodóvar. The latter recently received plenty of recognition for their female portraits in cinematic Volver.

Here the women do not kill themselves – they kill their men.

You may also like