by British documentarian Kim Longinotto

Co-presented by Chicago Filmmakers

February 13, 2009

japanese woman wrestler pinning an opponent

GAEA GIRLS (2000, 106 min) shows the grueling training process of becoming a female Japanese wrestler. Enduring ridicule and injury, young women battle to transform their bodies and steady their wills to prepare for contest against other women in the ring. The stringent lifestyle they endure seems at times to both challenge and reinforce the conventional view of docile and subservient women in Japan.

British documentarian, Kim Longinotto’s work is interested in groups of people, often women, who by choice or force, live outside of traditional societal systems and build their own communities on their own terms. I often think of her as a recorder of contemporary utopias; she captures the always intricate, sometimes absurd, and very often inspiring new spaces people invent for themselves when the world they are born into does not provide for or satisfy them. Gaining apparently limitless access to very closed populations all over the world, Longinotto captures full and compex portraits of her subjects. Several of her documentaries have garnered international attention, namely DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE (1998) and SISTERS IN LAW (2005) and her latest film ROUGH AUNTIES (2008) is screening this month at the Sundance Film Festival.

Kim Longinotto studied camera operating and directing at the National Film School of England from 1975-1978.

Filed under: Asian, documentary, feminism, Uncategorized