Directed by: #AleksandraCzenczek
Written by: Gisele Mauvecin
It is a marvelous thing that the #metoo campaign has lit a fire underneath so many filmmakers and indeed creatives. Without storytellers highlighting the gender inequalities of so many societies and giving them enduring staying power, the stories of the victims could be at the mercy of fickle headlines and rapidly changing social media trends. Gisele Mauvecin's short film Gender, directed by Aleksandra Czenczek, explores the activism needed in order to unearth some of the most entrenched issues that exist surrounding gender inequality.
Gisele Mauvecin plays Emma, a tireless worker who seems to sacrifice all aspects of her private life to further her career. Ignoring invitations to lunch from colleagues and even distancing herself from her husband (Gavin Cooper), Emma hopes to achieve a senior role in her company that is rarely offered to a woman. When the inevitable happens, Emma's boss Anna (Yulia Romanova), the only female at that level, seems resigned to accept the unfairness of it all until Emma reminds her that there is always something you can do.
Struggling to find its feet until the latter half of the #shortfilm, Gender suffers from some stilted dialogue and contrived plot points that make the whole piece feel a little like an educational video on harassment at the workplace. This is, fortunately, rectified once the storyline takes the activism route, vamping up the momentum and getting the audience more engaged. The performances are also better as the piece goes on, with Mauvecin and Romanova having the strongest scene in the movie where they lay bare the situation for their sex with moving clarity.
The themes are where the main strength of the movie lies. Opening up a discussion about employment inequalities and the hiring habits which potentially exist huge numbers of companies is a bold ambition. Whilst the ongoing conversation about gender roles has definitely made some good progress, the fundamental issue around childbearing has yet to reach any real culmination. Few companies have firm policies in place to protect the careers of female employees and fewer still have policies to protect those in charge from hiring by convenience.
A most commendable shout out to the sound design by Juan Inglesias. The power of the rising score in certain scenes was potent. There was a particularly excellent scene where Anna is working in bed which was made incredibly unnerving by the music. There was also a nice use of the cityscape nearer the end of the movie which was aesthetically pleasing.
Whilst improvements to the fundamentals of #filmmaking can definitely be found, Gender is a worthwhile short film that has a subtle tenacity. Gisele Mauvecin marks herself as a bold storyteller and with the right cast and crew, could create something more powerful and provoking.