This week the film festival outreach team hits the road with two fantastic female-directed docs.
Cross & Passion – Made in 1981 and directed by Claire Pollak, Kim Longinotto, tells the story of everyday life of the community in Turf Lodge, West Belfast, particularly its women.
A social documentary which considers life in the area and the affects and influence of the Troubles, especially on women.
Various women from the estate comment on their lives, and a pupil, teacher and nuns from the Cross and Passion Girl’s School also comment on events arising from the Troubles and reveal the integral role Catholic teachings have on their attitudes and lives.
A schoolgirl, a housewife, a nun speak fluently of the forces shaping theur daily lives. British soldiers are shown only as distant figures in khaki squatting by house corners, rifles cocked, next to kids who imperviously continue their games. The film’s title comes form the name of the local Catholic girls’ school.
The second is a brand new documentary highlighting the story of female political prisoners in Armagh and Maghaberry jails, and told in their own words.
A Kind of Sisterhood, directed by Michele Devlin & Claire Hackett, shines a light on part of the history of the conflict in the north, that has been largely ignored in the media.
The film spans a twenty five year period covering the first women internees in the 70s, the killing of a prison officer outside Armagh Gaol in 1979, the republican women’s protest for political status, as well as the closure of Armagh and transfer to Maghaberry prison in 1986. The struggle with prison authorities is vividly portrayed including the gruelling effects of the no wash protest by republican women and the isolation shown in a loyalist woman’s story.
Overall the women’s stories show the depth of suffering they endured but also their resistance to criminalisation and the strength of the bonds between them. Through first person testimonies eight women ex-prisoners recall their experiences of this defining phase of their lives.