For a long time, sports have been considered as the manifestation of masculinity with power. Competition and conquest involved in sports seemed to prove it. However, just like many thoughts and history in the world, a closer look at them might suggest otherwise. There are a lot more people to focus on and more stories yet to be told. The four documentaries we present in this section exemplifies why sport is for women.
Have you ever heard young girls working for a textile factory became Olympic gold medalists in 1964? THE WITCHES OF THE ORIENT tells a fascinating story of undefeated girls who started as amateur sports players from a team, playing sports after work. They later became members of the Japan women’s national volleyball team and played in 1964 Olympic games to win gold medals. The international media called them Witches of the Orient. Now in their 70s, the “witches” meet to talk about the training they undertook and to talk about their memories. As Emily Dickinson wrote, “Witchcraft has not a pedigree.” After them, no team could break their record and the harsh training that went through is impossible to happen now. THE WITCHES OF THE ORIENT traces the days when the witches ruled the world.
The highest title awarded to chess players is the title of grandmaster. Nona Gaprindashvili became the first female grandmaster. She was a young Georgian woman who beat many male opponents, establishing a record that sounds like one that appears in fiction. Georgia has something truly astonishing in that all four female grandmasters during the Cold War are from Georgia, a country with about 3.7 million population. The film does not reveal what makes Georgian women so strong. Still, Glory to the Queen presents us a reunion of those who have enjoyed this fascinating sport requiring physical exertion and miracle borne out of imagination.
Poet Ibaragi Noriko, in her poem More Strongly, claimed as follows. “Nothing would begin / Ah, if we, ah / do not desire more strongly.” Girls Can’t Surf continues Ibaragi’s spirit, focusing on female surfers who took on the male-dominated field and worked hard to achieve equality. They never stopped enjoying surfing and life, despite apparent pay gap and prejudices against female surfers. Reflecting on the history of surfing, this film leads us to rediscover women’s bodies, not as an object but as an active agent bravely facing natural laws of gravity and a wild wave. Their bodies are never afraid to take any challenges. They delight in challenges to the world.
Life like a girl is not a story about a hero. Rather, it is a story of ordinary girls who train every and each day to be better than they were the day before. One girl is not consistently good. The coach who she admires and who has shown her a tough love is no longer reliable. Despite these difficulties, the girls move on and keep working, as Adrienne Rich suggested. Since one move leads to another, they keep marching on to their goals.
After watching these films, the viewers will confirm the title of this section is unarguably true.
Sports is for women.

(Sung MOON)​


Some call the World Cinema section the backbone of JEONJU IFF since it plays a pivotal role in introducing titles of all genres and titles from all over the world. This year’s edition features 18 titles. Paolo Conte. Via con me (It’s wonderful) is a documentary following the life and music of an Italian singer and artist Paolo Conte. Miss Marx follows Eleanor Marx, the youngest daughter of Karl Marx. Her fight for workers’ rights and women’s rights is depicted in the film. The Past is Always New, The Future is Always Nostalgic Photographer Daido Moriyama is a documentary about Moriyama Daido, the king of the street documentary. The film follows Moriyama’s art world and the endeavor of a book designer who works with him to publish his photobook. The Big Hit tells a touching story about an actor who works with prisoners to perform Waiting for Godot. Also noteworthy is Underplayed, which presents the portraits of women pioneering DJing. These women soldier on, although they are often underrated and barred by numerous barriers to entry.

In addition, we can meet titles of various genres, telling us a wide variety of stories in this section. I am Greta presents the portraits of teen climate icon Greta Thunberg who initiated a call for action on climate change outside of the Swedish Parliament starting from 2018. Under the Open Sky casts questions on what it means to live ethically through the story of an ex-mob (yakuza) and ex-convict played by the Japanese actor Yakusho Koji. It further asks whether it is worthwhile to adjust to social norms and live a “normal” life and whether the world that we live is truly a wonderful one. The Translator follows Sami, a refugee living in Australia. He risks everything to go back to his war-torn Syria to find his brother, who is arrested for his involvement in the pro-democracy movement. After Love is a secret love story of a man who loved two women living across the English channel. Fires in the Dark by French filmmaker Dominique Lienhard tells a story adapted from Yoshimura Akira’s novel.​

[CHUN Jinsu]​
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