February 20 2019
Cinema is political activity: Parvathy
11 December 2017

IFFK Open Forum discusses representation of women and transgenders in cinema

The issue of representation of women and transgenders in cinema can be addressed only with more participation and conversations around these issues, actor Parvathy has said.

She was speaking at an Open Forum on the subject as part of the 22nd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) here on Sunday.


“The unfairness works at various levels. Even if you take a look at the various film organisations, you can see how only a few women are part of it. It is part of the conditioning of women too that some of them even think they need not be part of it. We need to have proper education on these issues. Cinema is not just an artistic activity, it is a political activity too,” said the actor.

Criticising the glorification of misogyny in films like Kasaba, she said when the superstars delivered such lines and they were glorified, it gave licence to many other men who looked up to them to imitate these in real life. She said there was hardly any film in Malayalam that had a woman’s sexual perspective.

Actor Rima Kallingal said that to fully reflect in every way the experience of women on screen, we had to reach a stage where women got proper representation in every aspect of cinema.

Filmmaker and actor Geethu Mohandas said that it would not be a credit to her if someone watched her film and said it was directed by a woman, as such gender-wise classification of cinema itself was unfair.

“We started Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) in the aftermath of the unfortunate incident that happened to our survivor friend. Our message is loud and clear, that if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us,” she said.

Filmmaker Vidhu Vincent said that even the progressive film society movement in the State did not have any female representation until recently, owing to the ingrained patriarchy in society.

Cinematographer Fowzia Fathima said that the fact that so many women were working in the technical side of cinema was yet to percolate into the public imagination.

“In 2000, when we started a collective of Indian women cinematographers, we had 10 or so members. Now we have grown to 90. But in the Malayalam industry, the number of women in the technical field is still less,” she said.

Meena.T. Pillai, Director, Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Kerala, who moderated the debate, said that there was a need to resist the male gaze of the camera and subvert it.



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