- Women's cinema
The term women's cinema usually refers to the work of women
film directors. It can also designate the work of other women behind the camera such as cinematographersand screenwriters. Although the participation of women film editor, costume designers, and production designers is usually not considered to be decisive enough to justify the term "women's cinema", it does have a large influence on the visual impression of any movie.
Alice Guy-Blachémade the very first feature film "La fée aux choux" in 1896. More than 700 films followed, working in France and the U.S. [http://www.nfb.ca/collection/films/fiche/?id=32905] Lois Weberwas among the most successful film directors of the silent era. Actresses like Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, and others were the stars.
In the twenties large banks had assumed control of Hollywood production companies. Production supervisors began to standardize film making. The introduction of sound demanded new investments which further increased the control of the banks. In 1929 Hollywood accepted a list of taboos which was later to become the Hays Code. Any unconventional film maker had a hard time. Women film makers could afford economic failures even less.
Dorothy Arznerwas the only women film maker to survive in this unfriendly environment. She did so by producing well made but formally rather conventional films. Nevertheless, she succeeded in smuggling in feminist elements into her films.
Experimental and avant-garde cinema
Germaine Dulacwas a leading member of the French Avantgarde film movement after World War I, and Maya Deren's visionary films belong to the classics of experimental cinema. Shirley Clarkewas a leading figure of the independent American film scene in New York in the fifties. Her work is unusual, insofar as she directed outstanding experimental and feature films as well as documentaries. Joyce Wielandwas a Canadian experimental filmmaker. The National Film Board of Canadaallowed many women to produce non-commercial animation films.In Europe women artists like Valie Exportwhere among the first to explore the artistic and political potential of videos.
Impact of second-wave feminism
In the late sixties, when the Second Wave of
Feminismstarted the New Left was at its height. Both movements strongly opposed the 'dominant cinema', i.e. Hollywood and male European bourgeois auteur cinema. Hollywood was accused of furthering oppression by disseminating sexist, racist and imperialist stereotypes. Women participated in mixed new collectives like Newsreel, but they also formed their own film groups. Early feminist films often focused on personal experiences. A first masterpiece was Wanda by Barbara Loden, one of the most poignant portraits of alienation ever made.
Resisting the oppression of female sexuality was one of the core goals of Second Wave Feminism.
Abortionwas still very controversial in many western societies and the feminists opposed the control of the state and the church. Exploring female sexuality took many forms: focusing on long-time censured forms of sexuality ( lesbianism, sado-masochism) or showing 'normal' heterosexuality from a woman's point of view. Birgit Hein, Elfi Mikesch, Nelly Kaplan, Catherine Breillatand Barbara Hammerare some of the directors to be remembered.
Resisting violence and violent resistance
Resisting patriarchal violence has always been a key concern of Second Wave Feminism. Consequently many feminists of the second wave have taken part in the peace movements of the eighties, as had their foremothers in the older pacifist movements. Nevertheless the patriarchal cliché of the 'peaceable' woman needed to be criticized. Women film directors documented the participation of women in anti-imperialist resistance movements. In their Kali films Birgit and Wilhelm Hein assembled found footage from 'trivial' genres, the only domain of cinema in which the portrayal of aggressive women was allowed.
African-American women's cinema
Julie Dash's " Daughters of the Dust" (1991) was the first full-length film with general theatrical release written and directed by an African-Americanwoman. Since then there have been several African-Americanwomen who have written, produced or directed films. Neema Barnette(" Civil Brand"), Maya Angelou(" Down in the Delta"), Kasi Lemmons(" Eve's Bayou"), Cheryl Dunye(" My Baby's Daddy"), Stephanie Allain(" Biker Boyz"), Tracey Edmonds("Soul Food") and Dianne Houston(" City of Angels") are among these filmmakers.
Nnegest Likke'is the first African Americanwoman to write, direct and act in a full-length movie released by a major studio, Phat Girlz(2006) starring Jimmy Jean-Louisand Mo'Nique.
African woman film director to gain international recognition was the Senegalese ethnologist Safi Fayewith a film about the village in which she was born ("Letter from the village", 1975). Other African women filmmakers include Sarah Maldoror, Anne Mungai, Fanta Régina Nacro.
Mira Nair, Aparna Sen, Deepa Mehtaand Gurinder Chadhaare among the best known Indian women filmmakers, partly because of commercial success of their films. However there are a number of other Indian women filmmakers who have made some remarkable films that address a variety of issues. Other noteworthy Indian women filmmakers include Nisha Ganatra, Sonali Gulati, Indu Krishnan, Eisha Marjara, Pratibha Parmar, Nandini Sikand, and Shashwati Talukdar.
In Japan for a long time
Kinuyo Tanakawas the only woman to make feature films. She was able to do this against fierce resistance because she enjoyed a status as star actress. Using genre conventions her films showed women "with a humorous affection rare in Japanese cinema of the period" (Philip Kemp).
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, a writer and a director, is probably Iran's best known and certainly most prolific female filmmaker. She has established herself as the elder stateswoman of Iranian cinema with documentaries and films dealing with social pathology. Samira Makhmalbafdirected her first film The Apple when she had only 17 years old and won Cannes Jury Prize in 2000 for her following film The Blackboard.
Marta Rodriguezis a Colombian documentary film maker.
Elvira Notariwas a pioneer of Italian cinema.
During the "golden age" of "Classical" French cinema
Jacqueline Audrywas the only woman to direct commercial movies. In 1959 writer Marguerite Duraswrote the script for Alain Resnais' Hiroshima mon Amour. She turned to directing with "La Musica" in 1966. Among the best known French women film makers are Agnès Varda, Claire Denis, Nelly Kaplan. The work of many more French female directors is rarely screened outside France.
German woman filmmaker
Helke Sanderwas also one of the pioneers of the feminist movement. Other prominent female film-makers include Margarethe von Trottaand Helma Sanders-Brahms. Monika Treuthas also won recognition for her depictions of queer and alternative sexuality.
Marta Meszaroshas been making important films for decades. Sally Potteris a prominent British feminist film maker. British filmmaker Ngozi Onwurahexplores the legacies of colonialism.
(Re-)entering the mainstream?
Since the beginning of sound cinema, with very few exceptions, the films of women had been absent from mainstream cinema for more than half a century.Fact|date=July 2008 Sometimes actresses enjoying a star status turned to directing (like
Barbra Streisand). " Thelma & Louise" and " The Color Purple" showed the acceptability of feminist themes – when the director was a man. Kathryn Bigelowworks in male-dominated genres like science fiction, action, and horror. Dörris Dörrielanded a box office hit with her satire "Men". Italian Lina Wertmüllerhas directed a great number of popular films on the war of the sexes, with various artistic success.
*Ally Acker, "Reel Women. Pioneers of the Cinema. 1896 to the Present", London: B.T. Batsford 1991
*Attwood, Lynne, Ed., "Red Women on the Silver Screen: Soviet Women and Cinema from the Beginning to the End of the Communist Era", London: Pandora 1993
*Jacqueline Bobo (ed.), "Black Women Film and Video Artists" (AFI Film Readers), Routledge 1998
*Russell Campbell, "Marked Women: Prostitutes and Prostitution in the Cinema" University of Wisconsin Press 2005
*Ellerson, Beti, "Sisters of the screen : women of Africa on film, video and television", Trenton, NJ [u.a.] : Africa World Press, 2000
*Lucy Fischer, "Shot/Countershot: Film Tradition and Women's Cinema", Princeton University Press 1989
*G.A. Foster, "Women Film Directors" (1995)
*Kenneth W. Harrow, ed., "With open eyes : women and African cinema", Amsterdam [u.a.] : Rodopi, 1997 (=Matatu - Journal for African Culture and Society)
Claire Johnston, "Women's Cinema as Counter-Cinema" (1975) in: Claire Johnston (ed.), "Notes on Women's Cinema", London: Society for Education in Film and Television, reprinted in: Sue Thornham (ed.), "Feminist Film Theory. A Reader", Edinburgh University Press 1999, pp. 31-40
*Julia Knight, "Women and the New German Cinema", Verso 1992
*Denise Lowe, "An encyclopedic dictionary of women in early American films, 1895 - 1930", New York, NY [u.a.] : Haworth Press, 2005
*Judith Mayne, "The Woman at the Keyhole: Feminism and Women's Cinema", Indiana University Press 1990
*Janis L- Pallister, "French-Speaking Women Film Directors: A Guide", Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press 1998
*Sarah Projansky, "Watching Rape: Film and Television in Postfeminist Culture", New York University Press 2001
*Quart, Barbara Koenig: "Women Directors: The Emergence of a New Cinema", Praeger 1988
Victoria A. Brownworth, "Film Fatales: Independent Women Directors", Seal Press 1997, based on interviews with 33 film makers
*Rich, B. Ruby. "Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement". Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1998.
*Carrie Tarr with
Brigitte Rollet, "Cinema and the Second Sex. Women's Filmmaking in France in the 1980s and 1990s", New York, Continuum, 2001.
*Amy L. Unterburger, ed., "The St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopedia: Women on the Other Side of the Camera", Paperback, Visible Ink Press 1999
*"Women Filmmakers: Refocusing", edited by Jacqueline Levitin, Judith Plessis and Valerie Raoul, Paperback Edition, Routledge 2003
*"Frauen und Film"
*"Women and Film"
* [http://www.ejumpcut.org/ "Jump Cut"]
*"New German Critique"
Films (small selection)
* 1896 "La fée aux choux"; director:
Alice Guy-Blaché; one of the first narrative (fiction) films
* 1911 "Bufera d'anime"; director:
* 1914 "
The Merchant of Venice"; director: Lois Weber; the first full-length feature film directed by a woman
* 1921 "
The Blot"; director: Lois Weber
* 1921 "The Love Light"; director:
Frances Marion, starring Mary Pickford
* 1922 "La souriante Madame Beudet" ("The Smiling Madame Beudet"); director:
Germaine Dulac; often cited as one of the first feminist feature films
* 1923 "The Song of Love"; director:
Frances Marion, starring Norma Talmadge
* 1923–1926 "Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed" ("
The Adventures of Prince Achmed"); director: Lotte Reiniger— animated feature film
* 1927 "The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty"; director:
* 1931 "
Mädchen in Uniform" ("Girls in uniform"); director: Leontine Sagan
* 1933 "
Christopher Strong"; director: Dorothy Arzner, a Hollywood studio feature film starring Katharine Hepburn
* 1935 "
Robin Hood" (animated film); director: Joy Batchelor
* 1935 "Triumph des Willens" ("Triumph of the Will"); director:
* 1937 "The Bride Wore Red"; director:
Dorothy Arzner, a Hollywood studio feature film starring Joan Crawford
* 1938 "
Olympia (1938 film)"; director: Leni Riefenstahl
* 1943 "
Meshes of the Afternoon" (experimental film); director: Maya Deren; selected by the Library of Congressfor preservation in the United States National Film Registry
* 1950 "Outrage"; director:
Ida Lupino, the first Hollywood studio feature directed by a women after Dorothy Arzner's films; the story of a rape
* 1953 "The Hitch-Hiker"; director:
Ida Lupino, the first film noirdirected by a woman; selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
* 1959 "
Bridges Go-Round"; director: Shirley Clarke
* 1961 "
The Connection (film)"; director Shirley Clarke
* 1961 "
Cléo de 5 à 7" "(Cleo from 5 to 7)"; director: Agnes Varda
* 1964 "
The Cool World"; director: Shirley Clarke; the cruel reality of street life in the U.S.
* 1964 "Älskande par" ("Loving Couples"); director:
* 1966 "Sedmikrasky" ("Daisies"); director:
Věra Chytilová— the story of two young girls who explore the world without taking it too seriously
* 1966 "
Blood Bath"; director: Stephanie Rothman
* 1967 "
Portrait of Jason"; director Shirley Clarke
* 1968 "Rat Life and Diet in North America"; director:
* 1969 "La fiancée du pirate" ("A very curious girl"); director:
* 1971 "The Woman's Film"; directors:
Louise Alaimo, Judy Smith
* 1971 "L'aggettivo donna"; directors:
Ronny Daopolus, Annabella Miscuglio; a radical feminist documentary which analyses the double exploitation of women workers and the isolated situation of housewives and children
* 1971 "Wanda"; director:
Barbara Loden; an innovative, influential independent Amerian film
* 1972 "Sambizanga"; director:
Sarah Maldoror— feature film about the liberation movement in Angola
* 1972 "The Heartbreak Kid"; director:
* 1972/73 "Es kommt darauf an, sie zu verändern"; director:
Claudia von Alemann— organised women workers discuss the possibilities for change
* 1974 "
Il portiere di notte" "(The Night Porter)"; director: Liliana Cavani
* 1975 "Kaddy Bekat — Lettre Paysanne" ("Letter from My Village"); director:
* 1975 "The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum" ("Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann"); directors:
Margarethe von Trottaand Volker Schlöndorff
* 1975 "Hester Street"; director:
Joan Micklin Silver; Academy Awardnomination for Carol Kaneas best actress
* 1976 "Jeanne Dielmann 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles"; director:
Chantal Akerman— the daily life of a housewife
* 1976 "Pasqualino settebellezze" ("
Seven Beauties"); director: Lina Wertmüller; the first time a woman was nominated for an Academy Awardfor directing a feature film
* 1976 "
Harlan County, U.S.A."; director: Barbara Kopple; Academy Awardwinner for best documentary feature; selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
* 1977 "
First Love"; director: Joan Darling; the first Hollywood studio film directed by a woman after Ida Lupino's "The Trouble With Angels" (1966), starring Hayley Mills
* 1978 "Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit" ("The Universally Reduced Personality"); director:
* 1978 "The Mafu Cage"; director:
* 1978 "Mais qu'est ce qu'elles veulent?" ("But what do they want, after all?") — director:
* 1979 "Daughter Rite"; director:
Michelle Citron— a feminist pseudo-documentary which deconstructs the conventions of Direct Cinema
* 1979 "Bildnis einer Trinkerin" ("Aller jamais retour"; "Portrait of a Female Drunkard"); director:
* 1979 "Killing Us Softly"; directors:
Margaret Lazarus, Renner Wunderlich— the effects of advertising on women
* 1979 "Deutschland bleiche Mutter" ("
Germany Pale Mother"); director: Helma Sanders-Brahms
* 1979 "My Brilliant Career", starring
Judy Davis; director: Gillian Armstrong
* 1980 "
The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter" (documentary); director: Connie Field; selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
* 1981 "Eight Minutes to Midnight: The Story of Dr. Helen Caldicott"; director:
Mary Benjamin; Academy Awardnomination for best feature documentary
* 1981 "
The Decline of Western Civilization"; director: Penelope Spheeris
* 1981 "
36 Chowringhee Lane"; director: Aparna Sen
* 1982 "
Fast Times at Ridgemont High", starring Sean Penn; director: Amy Heckerling
* 1983 "
Yentl"; director: Barbra Streisand
* 1983 "
Born in Flames"; director: Lizzie Borden
* 1983 "Le Grain de sable" ("Grain of Sand"); director:
Pomme Meffre— the gradual disintegration of a woman (played by Delphine Seyrig)
* 1985 "
Desperately Seeking Susan", starring Madonna; director: Susan Seidelman
* 1985 "Verführung: die grausame Frau" ("Seduction: The Cruel Woman"); directors:
Elfi Mikesch, Monika Treut
* 1986 "
Children of a Lesser God"; director: Randa Haines; Academy Awardfor Marlee Matlinas best actress
* 1988 "Big", starring
Tom Hanks; director: Penny Marshall
* 1988 "
Salaam Bombay!"; director: Mira Nair; nominated for an Academy Awardas Best Foreign Language Film (India)
* 1988 "Love, Women, and Flowers" ("AmorR, Mujeres, y Flores"); directors:
Marta Rodriguezand Jorge Silva (Colombia)
* 1988 "
Little Dorrit (film)"; director: Christine Edzard
* 1988 "Die Jungfrauenmaschine" ("Virgin Machine"; director:
* 1988 "Kali-Filme" ("Kalih Films"); directors:
Birgit Heinand Wilhelm Hein
* 1989 "
A Dry White Season"; director: Euzhan Palcy
* 1990 "
Europa, Europa"; director: Agnieszka Holland
* 1990 "
An Angel at My Table"; director: Jane Campion
* 1991 "
Point Break"; director Kathryn Bigelow
* 1991 "
Daughters of the Dust"; director: Julie Dash; selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
* 1991 "A Place of Rage"; director:
* 1991 "
American Dream (film)"; director: Barbara Kopple; Academy Awardwinner for best documentary feature
* 1992 "Orlando"; director:
* 1992 "
A League of Their Own"; director: Penny Marshall
* 1993 "
Bhaji on the Beach"; director: Gurinder Chadha
* 1993 "
Sleepless in Seattle"; director: Nora Ephron
* 1994 "
The Piano"; director: Jane Campion, the second time a woman was nominated for an Academy Awardfor directing a feature film; Academy Awardfor Holly Hunteras best actress and Anna Paquinas best supporting actress
* 1994 "Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter"; director:
* 1994 "Black Beauty"; director:
* 1995 "Coûte que coûte" ("At all costs"); director:
Claire Simon— documentary
* 1996 "Fire"; director:
* 1996 "
Unstrung Heroes"; director: Diane Keaton
* 1996 "White Men Are Cracking Up"; director:
* 1996 "
The Mirror Has Two Faces"; director: Barbra Streisand; Academy Awardnomination for Lauren Bacallas best supporting actress
* 1999 "
Boys Don't Cry (film)"; director: Kimberly Peirce; Academy Awardfor Hilary Swankas best actress; nomination for Chloë Sevignyas best supporting actress
* 1999 "Romance"; director:
* 1999 "Titus"; director:
* 2001 "
Nirgendwo in Afrika" (" Nowhere in Africa"); director: Caroline Link; Academy Awardwinner as Best Foreign Language Film (Germany)
* 2001 "
Ophelia Learns to Swim"; director: Jurgen Vsych
* 2002 "
Frida"; director: Julie Taymor
* 2002 "
Whale Rider"; director Niki Caro; Academy Awardnomination for Keisha Castle-Hughesas best actress
* 2003 "Te doy mis ojos" ("Take my eyes"); director:
* 2003 "Thirteen"; director
Catherine Hardwicke; Academy Awardnomination for Holly Hunteras best supporting actress
* 2003 "Gujarat: A Laboratory of Hindu Rastra, Fascism"; director:
* 2003 "
Monster (film)"; director: Patty Jenkins; Academy Awardfor Charlize Theronas best actress
* 2003 "
At Five in the Afternoon"; director: Samira Makhmalbaf
* 2004 "
Lost in Translation (film)"; director: Sofia Coppola, the third time a woman was nominated for an Academy Awardfor directing a feature film; also nominated for best picture and best actor, Bill Murray
* 2005 "Karov la bayit" ("
Close to Home"), directors: Dalia Hager, Vidi Bilu
* 2005 "" (documentary); directors:
Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman; Academy Awardwinner for best documentary feature
* 2005 "
North Country (film)"; director: Niki Caro; Academy Awardnominated performances by Charlize Theron(best actress) and Frances McDormand(best supporting actress)
* 2005 "
Sisters of '77 (documentary)"; producers and directors: Cynthia Salzman Mondell and Allen Mondell; executive producer Ed Delaney; produced in association with The Women's Museum
* 2006 "
Marie Antoinette (2006 film)", starring Kirsten Dunst; director: Sofia Coppola
* 2007 [http://www.arte.tv/fr/Video/183604,CmC=1724338.html "Feminine, Masculine] (2007)", director:
* 2007 "Across the Universe"; director:
Films about women directors
* [http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c552.shtml Filming Desire. A Journey Through Women's Film, A film by Mary Mandy, 2000]
* [http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c622.shtml Sisters of the Screen. A film by Beti Ellerson, 2002]
Books about women directors
* [http://thewomandirector.com The Woman Director by
Ankara Flying Broom Women's Film Festival
Asian Lesbian Film and Video Festival
* [http://www.broadhumor.com/ Broad Humor Film Festival - Los Angeles]
* [http://LAFemme.org/ LA Femme Film Festival - By Women, For Everyone - Los Angeles]
* [http://www.lesbenfilmfestival.de/ Lesben Film Festival Berlin]
* [http://www.immaginaria.org/ Festival internazionale del cinema lesbico - Bologna]
Créteil International Women's Film Festival
* [http://www.cineffable.fr.fm/ Paris Lesbian Film Festival]
* [http://www.festivalcinemadelledonne.com/ festival internazionale del cinema delle donne - English version available]
* [http://www.madcatfilmfestival.org/ Madcat Women's international film festival]
* [http://www.feminale.de Feminale - German festival]
* [http://www.widc.org/ Women in the director's chair - Chicago]
* [http://www.madebywomen.org/ Made By Women: International Women's Film Festival - India]
*Native American Cinema
Feminist film theory
List of female directors
* [http://www.wmm.com Women Make Movies]
* [http://www.people.virginia.edu/~pm9k/libsci/womFilm.html WOMEN IN CINEMA: A Reference Guide]
* [http://www.people.virginia.edu/~pm9k/libsci/fwfdindx.html Women Film Directors - Index based on GA Foster]
* [http://www.newsreel.org/ California newsreel]
* [http://www.cinenova.org.uk Cinenova]
* [http://www.africanwomenincinema.org/ African Women in Cinema]
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