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Words from Festival Director

Beyond Control - It Used to Be Our Yoke, Now It Is Our Attitude


Pecha LO|2019 Director of WMWFF

"Gods and men fear nothing more than the loss of control over women." - Mary Daly


Under patriarchy, it seems to be the normal state of affairs for women to be under control. However, with the rise of the Time's Up and #MeToo movements, women are no longer willing to bear this fate. We are claiming back the right to control that should have belonged to us all along. In the film industry, the ambition of women to be "no longer satisfied with half the sky" anymore, but to rather "want half of the world" (Alice SCHWARZER), is symbolized by acts such as the Berlin Film Festival's decision to sign the 50/50 by 2020 Gender Parity Pledge.


Echoing this spirit, the 2019 theme of Women Makes Waves Film Festival is Beyond Control. This year's program is focused on women seeking and redefining their right to control. It tells a story of strong determination. After #MeToo mirrors the Time's Up and #MeToo movements and asks: can we face the inconceivable acts of sexual violence happening right in front of us? Is it possible to emerge even stronger from such calamities? Gray Dynamics of Love and Hope gives rise to rituals of healing exclusively belonging to women. Its stories full of romance, passion and joy serve as a release for the soul.


Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, and of course WMWFF joins the celebrations. Queering Voices makes noise to shake up ideas about gender, but also leaves a touching resonance. In the Taiwan Competition, a variety of works unfold the fine emotional tremors of Taiwanese women from both mainstream and independent perspectives. In addition, we introduce the two sections Asian Shorts Shout and Original Shouts to break the hegemonic control of the West and notions of race.


For those who think this pressure on control is not enough, we explore how feminism takes on the male gaze in the film industry. From romantic comedy to science fiction, Rocking Cinema History re-examines mainstream cinema ideology. We invite brilliant actors for interviews, giving them their right to speak and burst the Hollywood bubble. One step further, the Asian female revenge films of the 70s and 80s in Lady Avengers: Asia, Women, and Chainsaws satisfy the cravings of film history fans. They also show us the legendary pleasure of furious women taking revenge.


Film history fans likewise cannot miss Master in Focus: Jocelyne SAAB. Through poetic language and a keen sense of observation, she recorded how her home country descended into the tragedy that is civil war. The issues of nationality touched upon in her works are reflected in our last section. In the face of Taiwan's increasingly difficult situation, Your Country Is Not Your Own explores the unstable international order of today's convoluted and complicated world.


Just like control in the name of patriarchy is a fact of history, women can change their fate by taking control. This is illustrated by this year's opening film On Her Shoulders. The film follows Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia MURAD regaining control after her escape from sexual slavery as ISIS prisoner. Our closing film A Woman Is A Woman in turn is a shining example of LGBTIQ issues in Chinese-language cinema.


Women can face control with a radical attitude, or with a much more tender one. This year, we have invited acclaimed illustrator Baozi CHEN to portray our topic with the gentle strokes of her pencil. In her art, we can discover all the different elements of control in our lives, and the struggles for our agenda are not unlike the hard work behind her delicate illustrations. Control used to be a yoke, and now it is our new attitude. WMWFF is looking forward to taking control together with you.