Kapow! Films about women packing a punch

Each year Focus On Ability (FOA) expands its reach further into world with entries from people in countries not represented before. When watching the films from five such countries, the emerging theme was easy to detect!

Films from first-timers Hungary, Poland, Greece, Pakistan and Nepal all packed powerful punches about thriving women. These films are fast-paced documentaries featuring articulate, passionate women in their communities. It's as though the filmmakers and their subjects didn't have time to stuff around - they had a story to tell and had to pack it into five minutes ...

Or, in the case of Hungarian Barbara Dominika Huszti's film 'We Are All Able', it takes just over a minute for her to convey a simple story of not giving up. (She seems to have written, directed, produced and acted in the film - quite an achievement!)

Nearby Poland's entry from Anna Jukubowska 'Ordinary Human' takes just three minutes to tell the true tale of an adventurer who skis, paraglides and dives, and has plenty to say about the many people who think she's 'amazing' just for leaving the house. When someone uses the word 'normal' and contrasts it with the word 'abnormal', she replies by using the term 'ordinary' instead, believing there's much more room for people with disability to be seen as 'extraordinary' by comparison.

Then there are two very strong films conveying the lived experience of both disability and racism in Greece's 'Dirty Roses' and Pakistan's 'Colors of Affliction'. In 'Dirty Roses', director Petra Terzi cleverly keeps the identity of the subject-narrator out of sight for the first two thirds of the story, bringing her in with the provocative line, 'Why do you hate us so deeply?'

Ali Haider's 'Colors of Affliction' tells the story of a Hazara woman, whose parents ensured she received an education at a time when everyone else thought she should attend a special school. For 25 years she's worked as a fine artist. Her work is exquisite, and she has this to say about the idea of 'disability': 'In my perception, disabled people are those people who are physically fit and complete, but still they are not doing anything.' So, take that, Ordinaries!

Last but not least in this list of intelligent, articulate films comes one from Nepal, whose protagonist also has her mother to thank for wanting an education for her daughter, when others believed this was not possible, or desirable. In Rajneesh Bhandari's 'Anjana's Journey' the narrator tells us, 'I have been able to live a respectful life and that is my achievement.' If only we could all lay claim to that.