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Lady Avengers: Asia, Women, and Chainsaws

In the 1960s-1980s, a group of femme fatales took over Asian cinema with swords and chainsaws. Their shocking images became the spectres lingering at the periphery of film history. To invite these Goddesses of Vengeance back to the center of the film stage, the program presents a selection of five Asian Female Revenge Films from the early 1960s to 1980s, from Nikkatsu Pinky Violence, the Shaw Brothers cult genre, South Korean psychosexual melodrama, Hong Kong New Wave, to Taiwan Pulp Film. The counterculture and women's rights movements in the 1970s, combined with the expansion and economic strategies of film industries, gave rise to the craze of global production and consumption of exploitation films. The program explores “female revenge” not only as a sub-genre in the exploitation frenzy but a genre-bending and self-reflexive theme which, with its daring aesthetic experiments and provoking social commentaries, provides a glimpse of the eternal tangle between nation, class, gender, and female bodies in Asian film history.

Blind Woman's Curse

1970 Japan DCP 84min

The Secrets

1979 Hong Kong DCP 92min

The Lady Avenger

1981 Taiwan DVD 90min

Big Bad Sis

1976 Hong Kong DCP 93min

The Housemaid

1960 South Korea DCP 108min