In celebration of International Women’s Day, Cinema Politica recommends a diverse selection of documentaries and fictional films from our CP On Demand streaming catalogue—from Indigenous Lenca and Garifuna resistance in Honduras and the armed vigilante Gulabi Gang fighting femicide in India, to the pharmaceutical industry’s commodification of the female orgasm, and the prevalence of revenge porn and online harassment of women.
Some of the films are available for rental through Cinema Politica Pay-Per-View, or via our subscription streaming services.
1. BERTA DIDN’T DIE, SHE MULTIPLIED (Sam Vinal, Honduras, 2017, 30′)
In 2016, beloved Honduran Indigenous land defender Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her, despite warning about death threats from Canadian hydroelectric giant Bue Energy. Nevertheless, her legacy has blossomed into a thriving movement.
BERTA DIDN’T DIE, SHE MULTIPLIED shows the Indigenous Lenca and Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people of Honduras in their struggle against capitalism, patriarchy, racism and homophobia. The insidious agents of the local oligarchy, the World Bank, and North American corporations continue to kill but that will not stop the social movements. From Flint to Standing Rock to Honduras, the water is sacred and the power is in the people.
2. GULABI GANG (Nishtha Jain, Norway – India – Denmark, 2012, 96′)
Never without a healthy dose of humour, this is a deeply humane film that is truly inspiring for women of all ages. Rising up in resistance to femicide in Bundelkhand (Central India) and the discrimination of India’s caste system, this roving band of powerful ladies wrests justice for women and Dalits, undeterred by sneering policemen and condescending bureaucrats.
From armed self-defense training, to confronting offenders and officials in their towns, GULABI GANG shows what it means to build an organic movement, and to unite and fight as a community. With sticks, if necessary.
3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARSHA! (Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel, United States, 2018, 14′)
Newly available on CP On Demand, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARSHA! is a dramatic short film about the iconic transgender artist and activist, Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson, and her life in the hours before she ignited the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.
From street harassment to encounters with police, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARSHA! shows how the everyday decisions of two best friends who chose to fight back inevitably changed the course of history.
4. NETIZENS (Cynthia Lowen, United States, 2018, 96′)
Another new addition to CP On Demand this month, NETIZENS by director Cynthia Lowen is an insightful wake-up call about the impact of assault, harassment and defamation women face online, yet a celebration of three fighters against this epidemic.
Through an intimate, vérité approach, NETIZENS depicts the many forms digital abuse can take: non-consensual pornography, cyber-stalking, threats of violence, privacy invasions, impersonation, character attacks. The film challenges the notion cyber harassment is “only” online, showing the repercussions on targets’ lives: lost jobs, thwarted educations, damaged reputations, offline harassment and stalking, and countless hours devoted to containing attacks against a backdrop of mounting legal fees and psychological distress.
5. ORGASM, INC. (Elizabeth Canner, United States, 2009, 73′)
In the shocking and hilarious New York Times “Critics’ Pick” documentary ORGASM INC., filmmaker Liz Canner takes a job editing erotic videos for a drug trial for a pharmaceutical company. Her employer is developing what they hope will be the first Viagra drug for women that wins FDA approval to treat a new disease: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD).
Liz gains permission to film the company for her own documentary. Initially, she plans to create a movie about science and pleasure but she soon begins to suspect that her employer, along with a cadre of other medical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women (and potentially endanger their health) in pursuit of billion dollar profits
6. A RED GIRL’S REASONING (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Canada, 2012, 10′)
After the (in)justice system fails the survivor of a brutal, racially-driven sexual assault, she becomes a motorcycle-riding, ass-kicking vigilante who takes on the attackers of other womyn who’ve suffered the same fate. A RED GIRL’S REASONING, a no-holds-barred, neo-noir action/thriller featuring a formidable female vigilante who seeks revenge, is a powerful social commentary on violence against Indigenous women.
7. TUNNIIT: RETRACING THE LINES OF INUIT TATOOS (Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Canada, 2011, 149′)
Available through CP On Demad in Inuktitut, English and French, TUNNIIT is essential viewing on the history and reclaiming of a vital Inuit practice that is being reclaimed by new generations. Inuit traditional face tattoos have been forbidden for a century, and almost forgotten. Director Alethea Arnaquq- Baril, together with long-time friend and activist Aaju Peter, is determined to uncover the mystery and meaning behind this beautiful ancient tradition. Together they embark on an adventure through Arctic communities, speaking with elders and recording the stories of a once popularized female art form.
Central to the film is Arnaquq-Baril’s personal debate over whether or not to get tattooed herself. With candour and humour, she welcomes us into her world, to experience firsthand the complex emotions that accompany her struggle. Past meets present in this intimate account of one woman’s journey towards self-empowerment and cultural understanding.
** VISIÓN NOCTURNA (NIGHT SHOT) is no longer available On Demand **
VISIÓN NOCTURNA (NIGHT SHOT) (Carolina Moscoso, Chile, 2019, 80′)
Available to stream for free in the lead-up to International Women’s Day through a CP Concordia screening, Carolina Moscoso’s VISIÓN NOCTURNA (NIGHT SHOT) is an experimental film composed out of fragments shot over years as the Chilean director reckons with the trauma of her rape. Artistic cinematography and sound composition create a visceral experience as the emotional artifacts of Moscoso’s story collide with the systemic burden of a justice system that has ultimately failed to prosecute the perpetrator.