Women’s rights have had a long and arduous history. On this day, we honour people who have fought for women’s rights, fostered the spirit of equality, defied societal barriers, and set an example for future generations. March is designated as Women’s History Month to honour women’s accomplishments. On International Women’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of inspiring films that honour the spirit and resilience of independent women.
This movie had to be on our list. This biographical film released in 2016 is about the lives of three African American women who work at NASA in the sixties and the seventies. They were the brains behind astronaut John Glenn’s launch into orbit, an exemplary feat that turned the space race of the Cold War around. Generations were inspired by the three inspiring women, who transcended the discrimination of both gender and race. This movie is not only a testament to International Women’s Day but is also a worthy watch for the month that celebrates women’s history.
This is a 2012 Bollywood movie from India. It is written and directed by Gauri Shinde. The story is about Shashi, who is a housewife, who sells the Indian sweet ladoo to keep herself busy. She is constantly belittled by her husband and kids who feel embarrassed about the fact that she doesn’t know English that well. Shashi enrols in an English-speaking course to prevent her husband and daughter from criticising her lack of English skills and gets self-respect as a result. The film has a poignant dialogue that brings out the double standards for men and women – “When a man cooks, it’s an art. But when a woman cooks, it’s her responsibility”.
This movie came out in 2018 and was Nigerian cinema’s official entry to the Oscars that year. The story goes – when her father becomes unwell, Adaeze is forced to take on the challenge of managing her father’s transportation company. She’s a woman attempting to lead in a male-dominated sector, which frequently causes her to second-guess her own choices. She is always needing to demonstrate her ability to handle the company, even to her own family. The film is well-made, with glimpses of Nigeria’s stunning scenery and people interspersed throughout. The country is shown as a vibrant and bustling society. This picturization does a good job of counteracting the mainstream western media’s portrayal of “desolate” African countries in shambles.
Miss & Mrs. Cops
Originally titled ‘Girl Cops’, this is a South Korean Movie released in 2019. After having a child, Park Mi Young, who used to be the head cop in the Major Crimes Unit, is now stationed behind a desk. Her sister-in-law Jo Ji Hye joins her team one day, and the two of them constantly bicker. When a woman is ran down in front of them, they band together to figure out what happened. As higher-ranking authorities remain unresponsive and refuse to aid, the two women, with the help of a female hacker, begin to round up the gang on their own.
The Flowers of War
This is a movie from the Chinese film industry and was released in 2011. It was selected as the Chinese entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards and received a nomination for the 69th Golden Globe Awards. The story takes place in Nanking, China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War’s Nanking Massacre in 1937. A group of war prisoners seek refuge in church property and attempt to survive the horrors and atrocities that the Japanese army was showing to any prisoners of war. In the midst of the fears and anxieties of the war, this movie also explores the unlikely friendship between the group of schoolgirls and prostitutes stuck in the church.
Surabhi Sanghi is a SOAS Digital Ambassador, pursuing a master’s degree in South Asian Studies and Intensive Language (which also means she gets to be in London for one whole extra year). She has a background in history and is interested in the religions of South Asia. She is a dog person and her only wish is to be able to pet all the dogs in London.