This week we’re focussing on films made to challenge how we think about gender roles. There’s a social experiment film from ReDraw the Balance that brings us vivid reactions from primary school children, a brand driven drama from Ariel in India and a stylish mix of documentary and reality film making from Chinese skincare brand SK-II.
1. Re-DRAW THE BALANCE: Inspiring the Future
Created by communications group MullenLowe this film documents a social experiment that reveals how deeply roles are ingrained even in children’s imaginations.
#RedrawTheBalance was released around International Women’s day to raise awareness of how gender stereotyping is already at play in early childhood. It’s a great example of a simple story with a genuinely surprising reveal that leads to a very clear call to action.
In the film, each child is asked to draw a picture of a fire-fighter, surgeon and fighter pilot, then they’re asked to give them a name and say something about them. So we hear about fire-fighter Gary or Surgeon Jim-Bob and we learn about his ambulance or his plane. Their surprise and wonderment when the real life fire-fighter, surgeon and fire-pilot are revealed to be women is captivating.
2. SHARE THE LOAD: Ariel (Brand film – India)
This film by brand Ariel India went viral and started a national debate on gender roles in India. It uses scripted drama in the form a father’s letter to his daughter.
The father’s voice over is set against handheld shots, changes in focus, jump cuts and the clever use of sound effects to create the busy scene of an inter-generational Indian family.
Told from the father’s point of view, it captures his reactions as he watched her return home from work, rushing around getting a meal ready, taking work calls and tidying up whilst her husband watches TV. The dad reflects on his own responsibility in bringing her up to expect – and accept – such a demanding life. In the final act, the device of the letter enables father and daughter to change roles. Whilst she reads her father’s letter, we see him help wife to pack and put in the washing.
This is a simple idea with the added bonus of seeing the protagonist actually engage in the change that the film is trying to promote.
3. MARRIAGE MARKET TAKEOVER: SK-II Skincare brand film
Skin care brand SK-II film’s Marriage Market Takeover is a revealing film about the pressure on Chinese women to marry before 25 and the action some of these women took as a respectful stand against their culture.
The film puts the viewer into their shoes by combining photographs from childhood to adulthood, sound bites of the criticisms against the women and a effective soundscape. We feel the pressure these “Sheng Nu” or “leftover woman” are subjected to.
The film subtly draws us back out to observe the emotional dilemma by intercutting the parent’s desires and disappointment with the reactions and inner thoughts of their daughters.
Central to the story is the bustling marriage market where thousands of profiles of China’s sons and daughter’s are advertised for marriage. In the last section of the film, parents are faced with blown up images of their daughters with words of how they see themselves. The transformation we witness in the parents and their relationship is a tear jerker.
Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy
Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with casestudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films
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