One of our favorite things to do here at Bitch Flicks is to spotlight and support female directors. It’s an established fact that the amount of female directors in Hollywood is substantially less than that of their male counterparts: roughly 5% of big-grossing films are directed by women.
However, while the numbers are small in Hollywood, indie films, international films, and documentaries have a growing number of talented female directors producing incredible work.
|Anne Gyrithe Bonne|
This week Bitch Flicks is spotlighting a great female documentary director, Anne Gyrithe Bonne, from Fredricksburg, Denmark. Laudably, Bonne’s films focus on human rights, showcasing prominent civil rights activists and their struggles for equality or democracy; she is especially interested in revealing “the story behind the icon” and considering the great personal sacrifices that these figures must make in order to achieve their goals.
Bonne has made several notable films. In 2004 she made The Will to Live, which was shot between September 11, 2001 and March 11, 2002 in the USA, South Africa, and Honduras: a hugely significant time for each of those countries since all were dealing with the difficult question of forgiveness after a national crisis. South Africa had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission following years of Apartheid and human rights abuses; the criminal charging and death of many human rights defenders in Honduras; the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers that killed 6,000 people in the USA.
In 2008 she made The Art and the Maladjusted, a film about the influential Danish director, writer, debater and former artistic director of Odense Film Festival, Christian Braad Thomsen.
Most recently though, Bonne took on the difficult task of documenting the life of pro-democracy leader and human rights activist, the irrepressible Aung San Suu Kyi; this critically acclaimed documentary (nominated for ‘Best Documentary’ and the ‘Golden Butterfly’ award at the Movies That Matter film festival in the Netherlands) discusses Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal life in an attempt to understand what inspires and drives the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Bonne chose to specifically focus on Aung San Suu Kyi’s education at Oxford and subsequent marriage to Michael Aris (Buddhist scholar and Aung San Suu Kyi’s fiercest supporter of her cause).
Bonne was able to gain the trust of some of Aung San Suu Kyi’s closest friends and colleagues and the resulting film is one of great emotional depth and honesty about one of the 21st century’s most influential women. Bonne is respectful of Aung San Suu Kyi, but neither does she shy away from addressing criticism that some have leveled at her.
I was lucky enough to see the film here South Korea last week at a local film festival. Even more fortuitous was the fact that Bonne was in attendance at the screening and graciously granted me an interview. Check back here on Tuesday for my interview with her and a review of Aung San Suu Kyi: Lady of No Fear.
Click here for the Aung San Suu Kyi: Lady of No Fear website and here to see the BBC world interview with Anne Gyrithe Bonne.
Rachel Redfern has an MA in English literature, where she conducted research on modern American literature and film and it’s intersection, however she spends most of her time watching HBO shows, traveling, and blogging and reading about feminism.