Widerstandsmomente [Moments of Resistance] (2019)

Director: Jo Schmeiser
Writer: Jo Schmeiser
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2019

In Widerstandsmomente, Schmeiser brings together various women and how they resist(ed) – starting in the World War II and stretching all the way to today. She puts various forms of resistance next to each other, examining the possibilities for everyone to resist in their own way.

I thought the topic of Widerstandsmomente was very interesting and I’m all here for resistance, but the film didn’t really come together for me, unfortunately.

A young woman in a hijab with her arms raised.

Schmeiser opens up a huge spectrum of political activity and resistance by women. For the more historic cases where the people involved mostly just aren’t alive anymore, she uses audio recordings of interviews they did earlier. She puts those recordings over images of factories and various other production facilities, showing machines and people at work. I struggled a bit with that juxtaposition – I didn’t understand how they were supposed to fit together and for me, it ended up being mostly distracting, as I tried to puzzle that out and didn’t concentrate on the actual stories anymore.

Additionally, the wide spectrum of activities she shows was another problem. I am aware that the film’s point her was supposed to be “anybody can resist! You don’t need big heroic gestures, small things can be enough. Also, forms of resistance have changed.” I absolutely agree with that. And yet, in the combination I caught myself wondering whether all of what we see here really is resistance – if there is a line between activism and resistance. That means, contrary to the film’s intentions, I started to compare the various forms and caught myself finding some of them lacking.

Streetart showing the faces of famous women who resisted.

That reaction of mine is a disservice to everyone and shouldn’t have happened. But it did and as a result, I felt disappointed when the film ended. I didn’t feel inspired to resist – and that was I was ultimately hoping to get.

That being said, just to discover the many great women who were featured in the film, I’d still say that it is worth watching the film. And I hope that I was just in a particularly grumpy mood that day and that other people will be inspired by it after all.

A full lecture hall at the university.

Summarizing: didn’t work for me but not because it was bad.

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