10 Great Films About Women and the City for the BFI
10 great films about women and the city
To honour the rerelease of Satyajit Ray’s The Big City – the story of a former housewife finding her place in the world of work and the bustle of Calcutta – we take a tour of 10 more remarkable films about female experience in the world’s metropolises.
The Big City is rereleased nationwide on 16 August 2013.
A Satyajit Ray season runs at BFI Southbank from 15 August to 5 October 2013.
Satyajit Ray’s The Big City (1963) bursts into life with an ear-splitting Calcutta street scene, but swiftly shifts to the relative hush of the Mazumdar household, where a life-changing decision is about to be made.
Housewife Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee) resolves to find a job in order to help supplement her husband’s low income – going against the traditional values of Indian society, still deeply-held in the 1950s. It’s a choice that will have deep repercussions for her family, and her own sense of identity.
Arati’s first day of work is one of the first times in the film in which she steps outside her home; and seeing her walking tall in sun-filled streets, as contrasted with the dimly lit interiors of her house, is striking. Working (she sells labour-saving knitting machines to upper middle-class women) takes the Arati out of the ‘woman’s place’ of the home and into the bustle of the big city.
Review of Flying Blind for Little White Lies
A lovestruck designer of military artillery goes under the microscope in this passable debut.
Work is important to Frankie (Helen McCrory), the central protagonist in Katarzyna Klimkiewicz’s Flying Blind. You can tell by the purposeful way she strides to her car with a briefcase, the way her colleague is forced to pluck the headphones from her ears to ask if she’s coming out for a drink (the answer is a crisp “no”), and the way she lives alone in an immaculate, conspicuously spacious flat. She also says things like, “my work comes first”, on several occasions. In case you were still in any doubt.
Review of Romeo + Juliet Re-Release for Little White Lies
Seventeen years on and Baz Luhrmann’s postmodern take on the bard’s quintessential tragedy still works like gangbusters.
It’s being re-released for Valentine’s Day, but Baz Luhrmann’sWilliam Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo And Juliet’ originally came out in cinemas in 1996. That was 17 years ago – before the ubiquity of the internet or DVD. Back then, most people probably watched the film on VHS tapes: those obsolete blocks of plastic that are now impossible to watch and difficult to dispose of.