‘Vagabondess’ Director Brigitta Kanyaro Explores Differing Views on Feminism, Motherhood, Migration
In Brigitta Kanyaro’s debut feature, “Vagabondess,” the Romania-native Austria-based director takes her protagonist Camelia, a millennial mom, on the road in a bid to prevent her daughter from meeting her biological father. The road trip allows the film to explore issues of motherhood and migration in the age of fourth-wave feminism and TikTok.
The film features in the Co-Production Market of Cinelink, the industry section of Sarajevo Film Festival, and is looking to woo co-producers.
During the pandemic, Kanyaro was frustrated because she was unable to visit her family in her home country. She used to dislike taking the bus to visit them under normal circumstances, but suddenly that bus ride sounded like a most welcome idea. “That in combination with the very specifically weird relationship I have with my mother – mommy issues – meant I wanted to explore this bizarre kind of sister-like relationship where boundaries are not set,” she says of the genesis of the project.
Kanyaro and her mother never felt represented when they migrated to Austria. “I understood that it’s a very distinct type of woman that people are attracted to on TV or in films. There were no role models. There were no realistic films about migrants, and, in my experience, the migration experience is bittersweet because you actually do sometimes have a better life here [in Austria]. But half of your heart is somewhere else,” she says.
She also observes a divide in the perception of mothers between Western and Eastern Europe. “I personally feel that in Austria or Western countries, women from the East are [portrayed as] very tough and we all take that as a compliment. Because that’s what we do. We sacrifice ourselves.”
The same goes for the differences in the understanding of feminism. “Even though there’s only one country in-between [Austria and Romania], it is very different. Of course, it depends on age, but it’s a very different way of seeing things and talking about feminism. I wanted to somehow explore the clash between these women who understand both worlds. They fight for the same thing, but it’s a different wording,” she explains.
The film is written by Kanyaro and Eugen Klim. It is produced by Lena Weiss and Klim at Austria’s Glitter & Doom.
By Tara Karajica, www.variety.com (14.08.2023, 11:18)