Gaea Girls Film Screening and Q&A
24 January 2017, London
Filmed over a period of three months, Gaea Girls (Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams, 2000) is a film about courage, transformation and dreams in the extraordinary world of Japanese women’s wrestling or joshi puroresu. It marked the fifth collaborative film between Longinotto and Williams examining gender defined and gender defying roles in contemporary Japan.
Although the Gaea Japan wrestling association was disbanded in 2005, in 2015 its founder Chigusa Nagayo announced a new wrestling group, Marvelous, which launched in 2016. As the violent spectacle of joshi puroresu continues to prove popular, Longinotto and Williams’ work allows us to reflect upon the daily routines and social conditions of this sport’s female participants.
Gaea Girls centres around the hopes and fears of the beleaguered Gaea Japan squad, whose reputation hangs by a thread after a series of setbacks in the ring. At the heart of the film is Nagayo, who attempts to fashion a group of new recruits in her own formidable image; the arresting documentary focuses on the physicality – indeed brutality – of the demanding training regime undertaken by the Gaea girls in tournament preparation. In doing so, Gaea Girls addresses the broader question of women’s empowerment in Japan.
The screening will be followed by a drinks reception and a Q&A with director Kim Longinotto, whose collection is housed and distributed by the Royal Anthropological Society.
Kim Longinotto has received numerous awards for her observational documentaries, including a BAFTA for her documentary Pink Saris (2010).
This is the first in a series of screenings co-organised by the Japan Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute that will revisit Japanese films housed in the RAI’s collection.
23 February – Node: An Elderly Village Community in the Global World
at Royal Anthropological Institute
21 March – Memories of the Ainu Past and Present
at SOAS, in association with the Japan Research Centre
24 January 2017
Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT
The Japan Society, The Royal Anthropological Society