Dance, girls, dance!
(»Women's Writing in Film History«, Human Rights Film Festival, Zagreb, February 2008)
The text reviews the films presented as part of a side-program of this year's fifth Human Rights Film Festival in Zagreb. The program was entitled Women's Writing in Film History and it presented thirteen films directed by well-known female directors. These films also focus on a typically female experience and this is why the term women's writing (écriture feminine) was used. Apart from deconstructive and subversive women's writing practices, the presented films also require contextualization within a three-wave history of the feminist movement because at a certain point in history it was after all enough that films are only political. So the author thinks that thirteen presented films could be roughly divided into those that play a political/ revolutionary role (implicit or explicit) by the means of engaged (feminist) contents (Mädchen in Uniform, Leontine Sagan, 1931; Dance, Girl, Dance, Dorothy Arzner, 1940; Orlando, Sally Potter, 1992; Napló gyermekeimnek /Diary for My Children/, Márta Mészáros, 1984; Borovi i jele: sjećanje žena na život u socijalizmu /Pines and Fur Trees: Women's Memory of Life in Socialism/, Sanja Iveković, 2002); those that do so by the means of emphasized subversion of traditional forms (The Smiling Madame Beudet, Germaine Dulac, 1923; Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren, 1943; Sedmikrasky /Daisies/, Vera Chytilová, 1966; Unsichtbare Gegner /Invisible Adversaries/, Valie Export, 1977; Doručak s bakom /Lunch with Grandma/, Barbara Blasin, 2001); and those in which both the form and the contents are equally subversive in relation to traditional narrative structures (Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Chantal Akerman, 1976; Le Bonheur /Hapiness/, Agnes Varda, 1965; Kurz davor ist es passiert /It Happened Just Before/, Anja Salomonowitz, 2006). Although the selectors picked out exclusively European (and two American) classics, thus narrowing down viewers perspective of possible feminist (film) strategies, reducing it to a relatively homogenous group of women in terms of class, race and cultural background (mostly white middle-class women) — which was, if we try to remember, the objection to second wave feminism — they were well aware of this gap and they themselves mentioned it in the introductory note explaining that the programs is, despite of all the flaws, rather diverse and stimulating.