(Image: They Called Us 'Les Filles du Roy' by Anne-Claire Poirier)
On International Women's Day, we celebrate and continue a struggle for justice and freedom for all. We honour the painful fights that women, LGBTQI+ people, and oppressed peoples across the world and throughout history have fought, that have given us our freedoms, and that we need to continue. International Women's Day is a day to celebrate Sisterhood - to celebrate the solidarity and wisdom that we inherited from so many women and that still teach us the values we care for.
It is also an occasion to celebrate women filmmakers from different generations and places who, through their films, have expanded cinema and made it a kinder place for all.
We present films by Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, Anne-Claire Poirier (with the National Film Board, Canada) and Věra Chytilová (with DA Films).
Spit on The Broom
Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, USA, 2019, 12'
A cinematic poem that reveals the power and courage of sisterhood through bits of the history of the United Order of Tents, a clandestine organization of black women in the 1840s, during the height of the Underground Railroad (a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the US during the early to mid-1800s, and used by African-American slaves to escape into free states and Canada). Out of respect for the group’s continued secrecy the film is structured around excerpts from the public record, newspaper articles related to the Tents from over the course of 100 years, and a visual tapestry of fable and myth as a way to introduce a history that remains secret.
Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich is based in New York. Filmmaker Magazine listed Hunt-Ehrlich as one of their 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2020
This title is available to watch online for 24hours via Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects, for audiences worldwide.
Please note, to watch the title you will need to access Selects via Windows Explorer/Edge or Safari.
They Called Us 'Les Filles du Roy'
Anne-Claire Poirier, Canada, 1974, 56'
Anne-Claire Poirier (1932, Quebec, Canada) is the maker of some of the most extraordinary films about the experience of women within a patriarchal society. Not running away from complexity, questions of maternity, loss, emancipation and the culture of rape and violence cross her films through deeply poetic approaches that expand the language of non-fiction and question its boundaries.
They Called Us 'Les Filles du Roy' (1974) is both a love letter to generations of women across time in Quebec and a cry for freedom and dignity. It brings together the patriarchal world vision and the colonialist condition of her society: one that educates their own women to perpetuate and endure violence. Watching it today, we see both its distance in time and its relevance in our presence.
This title is presented with the National Film Board of Canada, and is available to view online for free here.
Věra Chytilová on DAFilms
As part of a special collaboration between Second Run DVD and Sheffield Doc/Fest to celebrate International Women's Day, viewers from the United Kingdom are now be able to access five of Věra Chytilová's most trailblazing films — Daisies, Ceiling, A Bagful of Fleas, Fruit of Paradise, and Something Different — for free from 8-14 March 2021.
The Věra Chytilová Retrospective has been curated by Sheffield Doc/Fest Selection Committee member, Christopher Small, for DAFilms. Click here to find out more about the full programme.