UP TO G-CUP, 81min., Iraq/Netherlands, Documentary
Directed by Jacqueline van Vugt
In the documentary film, UP TO G-CUP, filmmaker Jacqueline van Vugt portrays intimate stories and emotional outpourings within Kurdistan's first lingerie store.
Jacqueline van Vugt has made an honest film in which women are portrayed in a world dominated by war, faith, men and mothers. The film powerfully demonstrates self-determination, sensitivity, sensuality and sexuality.
As a filmmaker I see the intimacy of the lingerie store Khanem as an excellent opportunity to make a deep and personal portrait of various women from this region. Self-development and emancipation are important and attention to ones own female body, -attention to good, beautiful and or sexy lingerie-, is a first step. After all, you wear lingerie primarily for yourself.
Beautiful underwear gives you a good feeling about yourself and therefore increases your self-esteem. In the second place, lingerie is an element of seduction and fantasy within your sexual relationship. Self-determination and sexual freedom are at the cradle of emancipation here.
Through the scenes in and around the lingerie and through the stories of the women who come here, we get to know the culture and history of Iraqi Kurdistan. The women we film are each of a different generation. But every generation has experienced war and oppression.
Iraqi Kurdistan is a new autonomous area within Iraq where democracy is slowly developing, and is literally and figuratively at a crossroads. This region is more progressive than it was, leaving room for the first lingerie store.
Women want the right to self-determination. The lingerie stimulates thinking about their own sensuality and sexuality and the store offers a place where women can exchange thoughts about this. Sexuality is part of identity and self-awareness. Equality and emancipation could be the prelude to a truly democratic Kurdistan.
At the same time conservatism and honour revenge comes back again. Does emancipation continue or does society slip back into religious conservatism?
Can the lingerie store continue to exist or even grow? If the women are no longer allowed to come, sales will stop and Shapol will go bankrupt and Hind will lose her job. The political climate can also change dramatically to such an extent that it will get dangerous for the women running the store, and what if IS or its successor will regain power.