You know Nancy Stole as a horrible person. She's performed under the nickname Mink Stole in sixty films, but her morally corrupt roles in John Waters' outrageous films are the ones that burn themselves into your brain.
Things are shaky and spooky in Vanessa Renwick’s short films. Watching her films, I’m never really sure where I am or why I’m there or what will happen, but I’m compelled to go along for the ride. Renwick, now 51, shot many of her tiny films on hand-held film cameras in late eighties and early nineties, drawing on her own wildly varied life experiences for subject matter.
Wif-pdx (Women in Film-Portland, natch) is part activist organization, part information network, and part event sponsor. This very week, for example, they are joining up with NW Documentaries, another kick-ass grassroots film center in Portland, to screen an as-yet-unfinished documentary called Austin Unbound. And if you're in town, I think you should go see it.
From the Awesome New Project files, Aiesha Turman, who heads the blog and media company Super Hussy (read her reclamation story here), has set out to capture the lives of young black women by asking the simple question "Who are you?" to Brooklyn high school girls. Turman created The Black Girl Project documentary, in order to let young black girls tell their own story instead of the one-dimensional versions of black women that much of the news and pop culture churn out.
Iranian lesbian activist Kiana Firouz is currently seeking asylum in the United Kingdom after a controversy over the upcoming release of Cul de Sac. The film, which stars Firouz and includes explicit lesbian sex scenes, is based heavily on Firouz's life and struggles as a lesbian in Iran. Directors Ramin Goudarzi-Nejad and Mahshad Torkan posted the trailer on YouTube in December 2009 (below, NSFW) and since then, the Iranian government has attempted to deport Firouz back to Iran to be tried and punished for her crime of homosexuality. Firouz applied for refugee status in the UK, but was rejected.
If she is not granted asylum in the UK, she will be sent back to Iran, where the minimum punishment for homosexuality is 100 lashes. The punishment for "unrepentant" homosexuality, which Firouz's LGBTQ activism clearly demonstrates, is public execution by hanging.
As a result, I’ve been thinking about women and food in film and have come up with a short list of women preparing and/or enjoying food on screen. Some of these I’ve seen, and some I haven’t, but here’s a delicious sampling to whet your appetites!
Thank you all for a great conversation this week regarding the question “Is Quentin Tarantino a feminist?”
Responses were as varied as could be expected and ranged from expressions of the power and strength one may feel after watching Zoë, Abernathy, and Kim, and a desire to adapt Beatrix Kiddo’s better qualities; resilience, confidence and physical prowess.
After several years, a lot of script work and much trademark frenetic verbosity, writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s long-awaited Inglourious Basterds – his "bunch of guys on a mission" film set during the Second World War – finally premieres on the 21st of this month.
With a nearly all-male cast it’s arguably a return to the tough-guy roots of his earlier movies Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994), where manly-men bantered over such topics as the meaning of Madonna’s "Like a Virgin" and the global appeal of hamburgers – regardless of whether they’re measured in imperial or metric units.
Though they often repeat the contradictions inherent in representations of women in Exploitation films, and thus come from already problematic source material, the kick-ass heroines of Jackie Brown (1991), Kill Bill (2003 & 2004), and Death Proof (2007) still show visceral examples of female power that women can get excited about.
So this week we’ll take an in-depth look at these characters and Tarantino’s work, and hopefully have a discussion regarding the question: "Is Quentin Tarantino a feminist?"