While we still mourn the untimely demise of Birds Eye View Film Festival, be warmed and excited by the arrival of a new year-long festival, celebrating The Bechdel Test.
For those unfamiliar, The Bechdel Test was popularised by a 1985 comic strip by animator Alison Bechdel, The Rule. The Bechdel Test is defined by a classification whereby in order to pass, a film must have at least two named film characters who should have a conversation about something other than a man. And surprisingly, it seems a pretty tough test to pass these days… But as the Test celebrates its 30th anniversary, cinemas around London are uniting to present a series of films with special introductions by women working in film in The Bechdel Test Fest.
Having launched the festival in February with a strand devoted to reclaiming the Rom-Com, the latest strand explores ‘Little Women, Big Stories’, with four films focusing on young women as leads during a time of self-discovery.
Kicking off with Desiree Akhavan’s Appropriate Behaviour (Monday 23 March) at Greenwich Picturehouse, our protagonist Shirin battles the pressures of her traditional Persian family’s expectations, her secret bisexuality and studying to be a filmmaker. After the screening, director Akhavan will be in conversation with Iranian journalist and filmmaker Nika Jazaee. Over at the Genesis, Andrea Arnold’s harrowing Fish Tank (Tuesday 24 March) follows 15-year old Mia as she comes to terms with her mother’s new boyfriend. The Hackney Picturehouse hosts Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture (Wednesday 25 March) where twentysomething Aura is faced with the harsh realities, disappointments and failures of post-college life when she returns to live with her artist mother in New York. Closing the strand, the heartwarming story of Wadjda at Stratford Picturehouse (Thursday 26 March) about a young girl who just wants a bike; the only problem being that she lives in Saudi Arabia in a culture where girls are not allowed to ride a bike.
Starting strong, look forward to a year of inspiring and progressive film and discussion about the importance and impact of female characters in film with some of the women who helped get them there.
‘Little Women, Big Stories’ takes place from Monday 23 to Thursday 26 March at various cinemas around London.
Browse the upcoming screenings and events online: bechdeltestfest.com