The apocalypse, as seen by women

GINGER AND ROSA by Sally Potter

More than ever, we need to support women artists now! This past week it might have felt to many of us like the world was ending, but we can keep it spinning if we just help each other out. For us here at FF2, that means watching movies (and taking in all kinds of other art!) that feature women actors, directors, and writers. I combined those two things with a list of movies about female friendship that take place during cataclysmic events! 

Ginger and Rosa

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Sally Potter, which you’ll soon hear all about in my interview feature on her. I’ve been watching Sally Potter’s work since long before her recent feature The Roads Not Traveled, so let’s just say that if she’d been willing to shake my hand the day I interviewed her, the coronavirus would not have been able to stop me. But this isn’t a story about that interview; this is a story about the very first film of Potter’s I ever saw–Ginger and Rosa, which was one of my first film analysis assignments in film school. 

The film follows two girls in high school; their moms gave birth at the exact same time and, from then on, the families have been fast friends. Ginger, the poet, gets into activism close to the start of the story as a way to gain approval from her father, but she blossoms into a person with a purpose of her own over the course of the film. Her friend Rosa, the bad girl who Ginger’s mom disapproves of, is more focused on dating, as evidenced by one memorable scene where she’s snogging a boy at the beach and Ginger is reading a book next to them. However, when Ginger’s father Roland develops a friendship with Rosa, the comfortable dynamics between these family friends start to unravel. 

The apocalypse factor in this film is that this all happens during the Cold War, during the fevered fear of the nuclear bomb. Ginger has to deal with all these everyday and not so everyday problems against a backdrop of panic about escalating tensions between the West and the Soviets, which we can probably all relate to right about now! One particular scene where she’s trying to convince her parents that they should be more worried than they are particularly got to me.

I won’t put any spoilers in this recommendation, but the gist of it is that instead of blaming each other for their problems, Ginger and Rosa learn that they need to blame the men who drive women apart from each other. This female friendship film is all about how that’s the most important thing. The more dire plot points in the film are a serious look at what happens when women don’t stand together, so check it out if you want to see why we fight!

Ever After

A film I was lucky enough to see for work at FF2, Ever After is a zombie apocalypse movie that’s possibly the most relevant of this article in the era of the coronavirus. Directed by Carolina Hellsgard, this one is a fairytale and a zombie apocalypse movie rolled into one. Zombie movies are all about viruses, and any Walking Dead viewers reading this will know that it’s just as sensible to practice social distancing when people are trying to eat your brains.

Ever After follows a girl who has just been infected with the zombie virus, and a no-nonsense former security guard who was determined to avoid her at all costs until they were both exiled from their city-state at the same time. While Vivi is timid and sheltered, Eva has had to struggle to survive, as evidenced by the fact that she cuts off someone’s arm in front of Vivi to keep the virus from spreading to the rest of their body. Luckily for Vivi, she and Eva have to find a cure in the town of Jena, which is located several miles full of zombies away. While its English title is Ever After, you can find this film on Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime under the name Endzeit, which is German for “the end times.” Ever After was probably one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen, as well as a buddy road trip movie, so I give this one a high recommend as well.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

While a third film about female friendship would have been ideal, a Steve Carell and Kiera Knightley pairing combined with Lorene Scafaria as director is just as good! This film also features an early performance by Amy Schumer, and you can check out Scarfaria’s other work in last year’s smash hit Hustlers. Scafaria’s wry directing style is already on display in Seeking a Friend, and Kiera Knightley brings all her best comic chops to the manic pixie dream girlish role she’s given. 

After they find out a meteor is going to hit the earth, Kiera and Steve go on a bunch of adventures through what everyone else in the world is doing with their last three weeks of life. Steve is single because his wife left him right after finding out, and Kiera has broken up with her boyfriend because he kept her from getting on the last open flight back to England to see her family. In the midst of their grief, the movie finds plenty of ways to keep us laughing. If anything, apocalypse comedy has gotten more relevant in the past eight years. You can find this gem on Hulu!

© Giorgi Plys-Garzatto (3/20/20) FF2 Media

Featured photo: Ginger and Rosa (Credit: Nicola Dove)

Middle photo: Ever After (Credit: Ingo Blancha)

Bottom photo: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Credit: Darren Michaels, Focus Features)

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Giorgi Plys-Garzotto
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Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto is a journalist and copywriter living in Brooklyn. She's been thrilled to step into an editing role at FF2 after writing as a reviewer for years, so you may see her writing at the bottom of intern's posts as well as in her own pieces! She especially loves writing about queer issues, period pieces, and the technical aspects of films. Some of her favorite FF2 pieces she's written are her review of The Game Changers, her feature on Black Christmas, and her interview with the founders of the Athena Film Festival! You can also find more of her work on her website!
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