Femenino Singular: A performance documentary spotlighting women’s stories

Remy D. Clark
4 min readDec 20, 2023

In the contemporary dimension of experimental cinema, “Femenino Singular” distinguishes itself with a unique voice, contributing to the creativity of how stories are presented on screen. Coined by Dorian as a “performance documentary,” this hybrid genre seamlessly merges performance art and documentary elements, offering an experimental and authentic cinematic experience. The film’s creative and bold vision was brought to life through the dedicated efforts an collaboration with the producer Oliver Harry Shine who also played a crucial role in shaping its unique cinematic experience.

Dorian Shine the director of Femenino Singular at the cloture ceremony of 35 Girona Film Festival — Photography by Max Nikitin 2023 — Spain.

“Back in Buenos Aires, at the crossroads of my immigrant journey and artistic path, a raw truth about human nature hit me when I was questioning my own identity. In the mix of individual lives, I came across a simple yet profound insight — people may be different, but deep down, we all share a common heartbeat. Connecting with amazing women from various walks of life engraved a powerful truth on my soul: being a woman isn’t confined by borders, and our shared humanity is a language that needs no translation. It was a revelation that gently shook the foundations of my perspective” — Dorian Shine, speaking at the premiere of his film at the 35 Girona Film Festival in Spain, Nov 2023.

At the core of “Femenino Singular” is a vibrant mosaic of diverse female narratives, rejecting the constraints of conventional linear storytelling. Rather than adhering to traditional structures, the documentary proposes a collage of images intertwined with artistic and poetic actions that structure each fragment. As viewers, we are not passive observers but active participants, immersed in a visceral experience where we create our own collage of meaning. This experimental approach that started as an investigation of the “essence of the woman” captures the multifaceted nature of femininity, offering a refreshing perspective on female representation in cinema and a poetic path towards a plural femininity.

A Still image from Femenino Singular 2023 featuring Flora Ferrari, the talented Argentine actress.

“In my workplace, predominantly occupied by men, I must present myself as tough, cold, distant, devoid of any emotional display. I am unable to be emotionally expressive and must remain composed throughout the day. This often leaves me feeling disconnected from my true self, and at times, I lose myself in the process.”

— A translated extract from a woman testimony in Femenino Singular 2023.

The stark reality of women’s underrepresentation in the film industry, where only 34% of roles were allocated to women according to a recent study analyzing nearly 4000 films between 1985 and 2019, emphasizes the crucial need to promote and celebrate women in cinema, both in front of and behind the camera. In the framework of the documentary ‘Femenino Singular,’ the narratives of 30 Argentine women, spanning diverse ages, ethnicities, social backgrounds, and economic statuses, offer unique perspectives. From a little girl’s view of the world through her toys to a lawyer facing gender discrimination and a woman resisting modern beauty standards due to ageism, the film vividly captures the richness and struggles of female experiences. These stories not only highlight the challenges of disability, sexism, and societal norms shaping the image of women in Argentina but also resonate globally. Through this diverse portrayal of life paths, the documentary authentically provides insights into the multiple facets of women. In fact the documentary ends with this statement : “To know the woman, one must know the story of all women, and each woman that this earth has borne and will bear.”

A Still image from Femenino Singular 2023

“Femenino Singular” celebrated its debut at the prestigious 35 Girona Film Festival in Spain, where it received the Honorable Mention of the jury, underscoring its impact and valuable contribution to the cinematic landscape and gender discussions. Reflecting on the film, Lluis Valenti, the festival director, remarked at its premiere: “Feminine is and can be many things; it could be a truth, a statement, or even a question. What’s certain is that we’ve seen multiple perspectives, but singular is this movie.”

The documentary’s influence extended further as it earned a nomination at the International Women Film Festival of Toronto that is well known for its focus on female-driven stories. This nomination positions “Femenino Singular” in the festival’s screening lineup at the Innis Town Hall Theater in January 2024, alongside other films directed by independent women directors.

Credits

Producer: Oliver Harry Shine. — Filmmaker: (Camera, Performance Art & Editing): Dorian Shine. — Narration: Romina J. Alves. — Cast: Adriana Zarza, Alejandra Ceriani, Aldana Bocconi, Andrea Trotta, Andrea De Vega, Carolina Defossé, Catalina Regla Pouso, Caterina Mora, Elizabeth Adriana Portella, Fabiana Pouso, Flavia Daniela Carlucci, Flora Ferrari, Julia Elena Sagaseta, Julia Nuín, Laura Denmar, Lila Frascara, Lupe Nuñez Guthmann, Maga Chimon, Manuela Mendez, Mara Guthmann, Maria Florencia Benítez, Maria Zubi, María Pía Buyayisqui, Marcela Martha Borrilli, Nilda Rosemberg, Romina J. Alves, Verónica Gallo, Virginia Benítez, Violeta Gibaja, Ximena Benítez. — Opening Song: Loli Cosmica with“Sagrado Femenino”. — Canada Crew: (Sound Mix: Saber Gueblaoui, Camera: Janagan Thanabalasingam, Makeup Artist: Christina Fung, Actress: Laura Denmar)— Links: www.dorianshine.comwww.filmfreeway.com/Fsingular

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Remy D. Clark

Born in France, Remy has a strong passion for independent filmmaking and underground art activities. He lives in San Diego, where he works in film production.