Thursday, February 2, 7:30 pm
Marjorie Desmond Oval, Coady Institute

Flawed – Short, Directed by Andrea Dorfman (Canada, 2010)

Flawed is a charming little film about very big ideas. Dorfman has the uncanny ability to transform the intensely personal into the wisely universal. In Flawed she deftly traces her encounter with a potential romantic partner, questioning her attraction and the uneasy possibility of love. But, ultimately, Flawed is less about whether girl can get along with boy than whether girl can accept herself, imperfections and all.

In many ways, Flawed is both an exquisite tribute to the art of animation and a loving homage to storyboarding. Dorfman lets her colourful storyboards shape up into the very content of the film. The resulting effect is pure and fresh. (

In a Better World – Feature Film, Directed by Susanne Bier (Denmark, 2010)

Winner of the 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Academy and Golden Globe Awards, In a Better World is a breathtaking exploration of cycles of violence in modern society from Susanne Bier.

Claus moves to Denmark following his wife's death. Anton, recently separated from his wife, commutes to work at an African refugee camp. As each family deals with conflict and grief, their sons form an extraordinary and dangerous friendship with potentially tragic consequences. Ultimately, all must choose between forgiveness and revenge. Oscar nominee and Sundance winner Susanne Bier (After the Wedding, Brothers, Things We Lost In The Fire) masterfully uncovers the fragility of everyday life and the chaos lurking beneath 

'A gripping meditation on the choices between pacificism and violence.' Screen International.

Reception to follow.

Friday, February 3, 2:30 pm
Nicholson Hall 151

Feminist Film Retrospective

Savage – Short, Directed by Lisa Jackson (Canada, 2010)

Savage earned the 2011 Genie Award for Best Live Action Short Drama. Presented in Cree with English subtitles, Savage is the result of seven international indigenous filmmakers’ collaboration to construct a short film which maintains two common principles: the theme of Patience and no spoken English. Lisa Jackson creates a musical which includes heavy metal, set decoration, and both actors and non-actors.

It's late summer, the 1950s, and a young native girl is on her way to residential school. A Cree woman in her kitchen sings a lullaby in her native language. When the girl arrives at her destination, she undergoes a transformation that turns the woman's gentle voice into a howl of anger and pain. Once installed in the residential school, life is stern and there aren't many chances to be a kid...except when no one is watching (

"Co-opting the denigrating term "savage" for the title, Lisa Jackson turns the tables on the language of colonization and captures our attention…. Without trivializing a dark part of Canada's history, Savage invites the viewer to reconsider residential schools in a way that pushes the boundaries of thought. While exploring creative perimeters, the film muses on the capacity of children to harness the power of imagination as shelter from the most unpleasant of circumstances."  - Sylvia Jonescu Lisitza

Thelma and Louise – Feature Film, Written by Callie Khouri /Directed by Ridley Scott (USA/France, 1991)

Thelma and Louise celebrates the myth of two carefree souls piling into a 1956 T-Bird and driving out of town to have some fun and raise some hell. We know the road better than that, however, and we know the toll it exacts: Before their journey is done, these characters will have undergone a rite of passage, and will have discovered themselves.

Ridley Scott shows a great sympathy for human comedy and it's intriguing the way he helps us to understand what's going on inside the hearts of these two women -- why they need to do what they do. Roger Ebert (

When Thelma and Louise opened in 1991, it was greeted with acclaim and controversy, quickly earning first-time screenwriter Callie Khouri a reputation as one of the only writers of real movie roles for women (

Saturday, February 4, 1:00 pm
Community Room, People’s Place

Latching On The Politics of Breastfeeding in America – Documentary, Directed by Katja Esson (United States, 2010)

After filmmaker Katja Esson’s sister gave birth in Germany, she was able to breastfeed her baby anywhere and at any time. Returning home to New York, Esson found that breastfeeding was rarely practiced and largely unseen. She set out to learn why this was so. Her wide-ranging, frequently funny documentary highlights the intersecting economic, social, and cultural forces that have helped replace mother’s milk with formula produced by a billion dollar industry, and reveals the challenges and rewards for women who buck the trend.

Latching On draws on lively first-hand accounts from mothers of diverse ethnicities and economic backgrounds, as well as candid observations by pediatricians, healthcare providers, lactation specialists, and the proprietor of New York’s first breastfeeding boutique. Including data about paid maternity leave, hospital post-delivery policies, and workplace accommodations for nursing mothers, the film compares current US practices with standards adopted elsewhere. Tensions around public breastfeeding and "breast is best" promotion campaigns highlight society's perceived interest in regulating women's reproductive behavior, as well as the power of culture to assign sexual and moral meaning to mothers' bodies. Entertaining and insightful, Latching On is an important analysis of the politics of breastfeeding, illuminating the complexities behind a simple, natural act. (

Dish Women, Waitressing and the Art of Service – Documentary, Directed by Maya Gallus (Canada, 2010)

Why do women bring your food at local diners, while in high-end establishments waiters are almost always men? Dish answers this question in a delicious, well-crafted deconstruction of waitressing and our collective fascination with an enduring popular icon. Digging beyond the obvious, Gallus explores diverse dynamics between food servers and customers, as well as cultural biases and attitudes they convey. Her feminist analysis climbs the socio-economic ladder. Astute, amusing observations from women on the job in Ontario’s truck stop diners, Montreal’s topless "sexy restos," a Parisian super-luxe restaurant, and Tokyo’s fantasy "maid cafés", as well as male customers’ telling comments, disclose how gender, social standing, earning opportunities, and working conditions intersect in the food service industry. (

"Filled with sharp observations about the social dynamics of customer relations and workplace solidarity, the film should be an excellent starting point for discussions of gendered and class-stratified labor." Fran Michel, WMGS, Willamette Univ.


The Women and Gender Studies program offers its support to the 2011 Antigonish International Film Festival (AIFF). The Girl Inside, screens on Saturday, October 22 at 11 am in the Desmond Oval, Coady West Wing. This film follows “26-year-old Madison during a crucial three years of her transition from male to female .. [It] is a beautiful film that tracks her emotional, intellectual and spiritual journey of self-discovery that is as important as – if not more than – the physical journey of hormones and surgery. Sharing the spotlight is Vivien, Madison’s glamorous 80-year-old grandmother, who has taken on the job of advising her on all things feminine. While Vivien's attempts to school Madison in old-fashioned codes of fashion and behavior are often hilarious, the juxtaposition of two vastly different experiences of womanhood, from very different generations, raises profound issues about the nature of gender, femininity and sexuality.
Sometimes funny, sometimes painful, this heartwarming coming of age story is both an intimate portrait and a thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a woman” ( 

The AIFF takes place on October 21 and 22, 2011. For more information please see their website (

Also, check back here for other events, including the Women's and Gender Studies Film Festival schedule (end of January) which will be posted as soon as it is available.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) National Event takes place in Halifax at the World Trade and Convention Centre from Oct 26-29, 2011, and includes a number of Indigenous Knowledge Mobilization sharing circles held on October 26 and on October 28.
Following this national event, Dr. Paulette Regan, Director of Research for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, will give a public lecture at St. Francis Xavier University on October 31 at 7:00 pm (full details are to be confirmed). 
Dr. Regan, who holds a PhD from the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria, is a former residential-schools-claims manager and the author of Unsettling the Settler Within. She argues that in order to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation, non-Aboriginal Canadians must undergo their own process of decolonization. They must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience. With former students offering their stories as part of the truth and reconciliation processes, Regan advocates for an ethos that learns from the past, making space for an Indigenous historical counter-narrative to avoid perpetuating a colonial relationship between Aboriginal and settler peoples.
A powerful and compassionate call to action, Unsettling the Settler Within inspires with its thoughtful and personal account of Regan's own journey, and offers all Canadians —Indigenous and non-Indigenous policymakers, politicians, teachers, and students—a new way of approaching the critical task of healing the wounds left by the residential school system.
This lecture is a wonderful opportunity to engage the university community in discussions of reconciliation. Everyone is welcome!