In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Chicago International Film Festival is taking a look back at the many award winning films from the 54th Festival directed by women who are driving contemporary world cinema. Bring these celebrated films into your homes now through the VOD services below.
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Gold Hugo for Best Film, 54th Chicago International Film Festival
Winner of Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival, Happy as Lazzaro follows the adventures of a man living on the margins of his society who can seemingly travel through time. With poetry, wit, and imagination, Rohrwacher creates a sublime story that’s equal parts picaresque journey and pointed social parable about goodness and exploitation.
Happy as Lazzaro is streaming now on Netflix.
Director: Sudabeh Mortezai
Special Jury Prize, 54th Chicago International Film Festival
In this lucid social drama, a young Nigerian woman finds herself caught in the vicious cycle of sex trafficking. Having worked the streets for years, Joy has almost paid off her debt to “Madame.” When she is charged with supervising Precious, a newbie teenage girl who is not ready to accept her fate, Joy begins to see the exploitation for what it is and is inspired to take action.
Joy is streaming now on Netflix.
Director: Ash Mayfair
New Directors Competition Gold Hugo, 54th Chicago International Film Festival
In late-19th century Vietnam, 14-year-old May is chosen to become the third wife to a wealthy landowner, and she soon becomes pregnant with a child she believes will be a male heir. But after she witnesses a forbidden romance, May finds herself struggling to come to terms with her hidden desires in this stunning and sensuous portrait of young womanhood.
The Third Wife is available to rent on digital services.
Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Out-Look Competition Silver Q-Hugo, 54th Chicago International Film Festival
A tender tale of forbidden first love told in an electric, colorful Afropop style, Rafiki tells the story of the tender but illegal and taboo romance between Kena, a skateboarding tomboy blessed with great grades and soccer skills, and Ziki, the charismatic daughter of a conservative local politician. When rumors begin to swirl about the nature of their relationship, the young lovers find themselves in great jeopardy.
Rafiki is available to rent on digital services.
Director: Sari Braithwaite
Documentary Competition Gold Hugo, 54th Chicago International Film Festival
Winner of the Festival’s top documentary prize in 2018, the little-seen [Censored], directed by Australian filmmaker Sari Braithwaite, is now available for streaming on the new art-house streaming platform OVID.TV. When Braithwaite gained access to clips censored by the Australian government from 1951 to 1978, she culled together a provocative and complex montage of the sins of the cinema itself. Our jury called it “a film that distills the essence of a cinematic patriarchy through tightly woven montage that is unflinching, difficult to watch, yet essential.”