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Her Story Unfolds: International Women’s Day 2024 Films

Her Story Unfolds: International Women’s Day 2024 Films

This year, CinemaWorld spotlights International Women’s Day with the scorching flame of FEMININE RAGE.

Feminine rage has been defined loosely as an “ancestral and inherited response to the struggles, oppression, and wrongdoings that women have been subjected to” (Her Campus). This response can surface in various ways – brewing, silent, wild and explosive – and is not restricted to a singular form. 

Over the decades, women in film including screenwriters, directors, actresses and more, have paved the way in cinema for women’s voices to be heard. The road towards emancipation and feminine self-expression however, is not without struggle. Keeping the nuance and articulating the feminine experience in all its depths and complexities are key to asserting womanhood. 

In honour of the work of these talented and inspiring women, CinemaWorld celebrates them with these 6 international titles, all which feature the diverse embodiments of womanhood and the powerful presence they each assert in their roles.



Lucky Girl is Ukrainian film director and screenwriter Marysia Nikitiuk’s second feature film and it recounts the true story of famous Ukrainian TV presenter Yanina Sokolova, who battled cancer at the peak of her career.

Though at times blinded by her desire for success, Nina’s (Kseniia Khyzhniak) fierce determination in the face of her rapidly deteriorating health illuminates her unrelenting passion for her work. Lucky Girl questions the wilful neglect of one’s health over career success, where Nina's dichotomous character is portrayed as indestructible and confident, fragile and lonely – but she remains the epitome of an indomitable fighter nonetheless.




“It made me furious,” Rebecca states simply when her daughter questions her choice to dash to the frontlines of war. Played by Oscar winning French actress Juliet Binoche (The English Patient), Rebecca is a renowned war journalist who captures the unspoken horrors of war despite the fierce opposition of her family. Passionate and committed to revealing the atrocities on the battlefield, Rebecca has to choose between family and her dedication to her life-threatening career.

The first English-language film by Norwegian director Erik Poppe, A Thousand Times Goodnight is a beautifully shot film that sends a powerful message about the conflicting roles women play in society, often having to succumb to gendered expectations of womanhood over their passions. 



This Japanese production is a comparatively grim watch in this list as events in the film seem to be on a perpetual downward spiral, reflecting life’s unforgiving treatment of the film’s young and vulnerable protagonist Aoi.

Despite being minors, Aoi and her friends work at a bar hosting lecherous men much older than they are. Back at home in her tiny, squalid apartment, Aoi has a child to care for and a frequently drunk, abusive partner, Masaya, who sucks her of her meagre savings. 

Where then does the rage perpetuate in A Far Shore? Perhaps it is roused within the watchful members of the audience.

Though Aoi is constantly beaten down, she claws her way back up time and time again with the unfaltering support of women around her. The overwhelming injustice one feels from the sidelines makes poignant the stark realities of underage pregnancies, prostitution of minors, substance abuse, and the prevalence of impoverished youths in Okinawa. 

Its heart-wrenching and acute depiction of Okinawan girlhood won the hearts of many, clinching the Audience Award at the 2022 Tokyo FILMeX.



Filipino debut feature Verdict by Director Raymund Ribay Gutierrez (a two-time Palme d’Or nominee), clinched the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Venice Film Festival – in fact, it was the only Southeast Asian film to be screened, nominated then awarded at the acclaimed festival.

Joy’s (played by actress and singer Max Eigenmann) unwavering determination to protect her 6-year-old daughter Angel while she battles her egotistical and abusive husband Dante (starring the late Kristoffer King) in court, makes for a compelling and gripping performance.

Despite the daily horrors inflicted upon her by both her husband and the bureaucratic government, Joy exudes remarkable poise in her fight for justice – her fierce determination as steadfast as a blazing blue flame. 

The film also features FAMAS award-winning actress Dolly De Leon who starred as the hero/villian Abigail in the 2022 black-comedy Triangle of Sadness.



Shelly Mohan (starring Peaky Blinders actress Charlene McKenna) takes multitasking to its extremes in this Irish crime-thriller hit series – she is a busy mother of three, a dutiful wife and a murderer. 

Feigning normality proves impossible, however, when a man from her troubled past returns to haunt her. To keep her secrets in the dark, Shelly lashes out in a moment of desperation and the man falls dead. Spiraling down a road of no return, the paranoid Shelly struggles to cover her bloodied tracks but is at risk of being caught by her unfaithful husband, Detective Mohan, who keeps inching closer to the truth.

Assuming both the roles of protagonist and antagonist, Shelly shies away from the “good, sensible woman” trope and embraces womanhood in all its complexities and ugliness. Clean Sweep is the female-villain centered crime-thriller you never knew you needed.



“[Kuma] is a potent film… about how families nurture dysfunction behind their self-created barricades.” – Critic’s review on The Guardian

Turkish Director Umut Dag’s debut feature Kuma disguises its social critique about the second-wife (kuma) practice behind an unassuming domestic soap drama. 

19-year-old Ayse is wishfully naive about her marital prospects and believes she has been chosen to wed Fatma’s handsome son in Austria. However, Ayse soon realises the marriage is a sham and her soon-to-be husband is in fact Fatma’s middle-age spouse. Ayse finds herself caught between Western and Muslim customs, and is cast as an outsider in the foreign land. Will she accept her fate as “kuma” to her new husband, or defy her family and traditions to fight for her own beliefs? 

The film was nominated Best First Feature and the Panorama Audience Award at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, along with critics singing high praises for the stellar performances of its stars Nihal Koldaş and Begüm Akkaya.

Seated behind this screen is another young woman who can’t help but feel a swell of pride for these fellow women in the films who have defied the odds in some way or form. As the genre of women in film continues to evolve with the growth of cinema, so does CinemaWorld’s exploration of emblematic narratives from women worldwide.

Happy International Women’s Day! 

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