Cut, no. 24-25, March 1981, pp. 51-52
Today feminist film criticism is increasingly important for film people, feminists, and radicals. Filmmakers, cinema students and teachers, and film users recognize that feminism is producing exciting new films and significant re-evaluations and original inquiries into all aspects of cinema. Feminists see that discussion of women and film is central to many questions of art and cultural change. And radicals understand how feminist film criticism focuses on the crucial relation of culture and political activism.
Since May, 1974, JUMP CUT has presented feminist film criticism as an integral part of its commitment to developing radical film work. JUMP CUT regularly offers critical articles from a feminist perspective, coverage of independent and commercial film by and about women, and a strong feminist position in its editorial policy.
No. 1 (May-June, 1974, available only through University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI)
THE EXORCIST — Analyzes the film in terms of sexual politics and radical therapy.
MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT — The character of Elena is used to represent concepts of underdevelopment as it may or may not exist in Cuba today.
DAY FOR NIGHT — Truffaut can only trifle with a portrayal of love relations on movie set.
WANDA and MARILYN TIMES FIVE — Compares ways of filming women, as victim and as cultural icon, in films by Loden and Conner.
WOMEN AND THEIR SEXUALITY IN THE NEW FILM — Joan Mellen's book unfairly rejects unpleasant' characters, e.g. bohemians and dykes.
Resources — Lists film magazines, books, directories, and catalogues about women and film.
No. 2 (July-August, 1974, available only through University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI)
Blue Collar Movies — Filmography notes documentary and feature films that deal with working-class families and the nature of sexual politics in blue collar work.
Shirley Temple — When the thousands of Depression-era children were starving, Shirley was the symbol of a perfect childhood and the fantasy of a golden-haired goddess magically solving all class antagonisms.
SAVE THE TIGER — An old fart learns new sexist tricks thanks to unrealistic "chick" hitchhiker.
LOVE AND ANARCHY — First Wertmuller film to gain U.S. recognition.
LUCIA — Women's struggles are described through three different periods of Cuban history.
EVEL KNIEVEL and THE LAST AMERICAN HERO — Women's roles are examined in two films about working-class heroes.
No. 3 (Sept-Oct, 1974)
POPCORN VENUS — Marjorie Rosen's book relates changes in women's film images to changes in society and discusses the persistence of certain female stereotypes in the American Dream.
No. 4 (Nov-Dec, 1974)
LAST TANGO IN PARIS — According to DeBeauvoir's existential terms, the character of Jeanne always remains an "other" and never becomes a subject.
THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT — "Buddy" film full of latent unexpressed attraction between its male protagonists makes women the scapegoat for male frustration and dissatisfaction.
CHINATOWN — Polanski and previous reviewers are denounced for sexism in JUMP CUT's "Critical Dialogue."
SCREEN's Brecht Issue — British film journal is criticized for use of Freudian assumptions about "penis envy" and for writing about audiences as if exclusively male.
LOVE AND ANARCHY — Wertmuller sees love as a harness and misrepresents anarchy as powerlessness.
No. 5 (Jan -Feb, 1975)
SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE — Bergman can offer only depressing views of motherhood, love, and marriage.
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE — A working-class mother has a nervous breakdown, but her 'normal" behavior looks about the same as her "abnormal" behavior.
LA FEMME DU GANGE — Article and "Critical Dialogue" on Duras' film. Is it feminist, elitist, or avant-garde?
No. 6 (Mar-Ap, 1975, available only through University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI)
YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN — Some things just aren't funny' But in this film's world, racism and cruelty evoke titters.
KING KONG — Differing view of the film in "Critical Dialogue" contends that, by being situated within protagonist's mind, the film aptly portrays the dynamics of sexism.
A VERY CURIOUS GIRL — Sexual politics of Nelly Kaplan's feminist revenge fantasy.
WOMEN IN FOCUS — Reviewer assesses the uses of Betancourt's book devoted to women filmmakers.
Report: Film Workers Repressed in Chile — Protests the torture and probable assassination of Carmen Bueno, the Chilean actress in THE PROMISED LAND, and other political prisoners.
No. 7 (May-July, 1975, available only through University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI)
ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE — Three differing reviews question whether this film, despite its flaws, is a step in the right direction or a piece of macho directing that places women in the same old roles: motherhood, marriage, and home on the range.
THE MIDDLE OF THE WORLD — Independent working-class woman fights to hold onto her own identity in her relationship with a bourgeois political hopeful.
No. 8 (Aug-Sept, 1975)
CHRIS AND BERNIE — Friedman and Schaffer's documentary on two single mothers living together with their kids; ideal for starting discussions about cooperative living, child-rearing, and problems faced by single working women.
Report From Knokke — New films by women are described from the Fifth International Festival of Experimental Films, held in Knokke-Heist, Belgium.
No. 9 (Oct-Dec, 1975)
NUMERO DEUX — Family politics, women's position, the media, and capitalism are critiqued and their interconnections demonstrated in this essay-like film.
WOMEN'S HAPPYTIME COMMUNE — Using Paige's film as a taking-off point, review surveys independent women's filmmaking since the early 60s in all its diversity and potential.
ENGAGEMENT OF ANNA — Voulgaris' film portrays the struggles of a working class woman in Greece to gain simple human dignity denied her by sexism and poverty.
New Day Films — Julia Reichert and Jim Klein (makers of UNION MAIDS and GROWING UP FEMALE) are interviewed about their contributions to feminist filmmaking and distribution.
Psychoanalysis and Film — Further exchange between SCREEN and JUMP CUT editors on issue of French psychoanalytic theorist Jaques Lacan's sexism.
No. 10/11 (Summer, 1976)
SWEPT AWAY — Wertmuller's women face the usual destiny.
STORY OF ADELE H. — Critique of Romanticism and the self-destructive search for perfect love.
THE OTHER HALF OF THE SKY: A CHINA MEMOIR — A lesbian film critic observes the differences between sexual roles in China and the US, and how US women visiting China react to those differences, in Claudia Weill's film.
MEN'S LIVES — Hanig and Roberts' film about the oppressor's oppression.
TRIUMPH OF THE WILL — Review of "Film Guide" examines how Riefenstahl's fascist art has unjustly been passed off as a feminist vision.
THE COCKFIGHTER — By glamorizing male individualism, Hellman makes the film's sexism seem natural and okay.
FAMILY LIFE — Interview with filmmakers Ken Loach and Tony Garrett and article on their films: focus on British working class culture, family life and children.
JAWS — Sexuality and violence are so linked in our culture that the presence of one explains the other.
MERCHANT OF FOUR SEASONS — Sees Fassbinder exploring working class alienation via new formal means for portraying "reified eroticism all too typical of our experience'
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST — The film is analyzed as metaphor for dying white male potency, an elegy to vanishing male prowess.
London Women's Film Group — Report on struggles of left and feminist filmmaking in England.
No. 12/13(Dec, 1976)
WOMAN TO WOMAN — Deitch's documentary explores the nature, status, and changes in women's work and women's roles via interviews and compilation footage.
THE NIGHTCLEANERS — Review of Berwick St. Collective's documentary contends that it opens new avenues for revolutionary Marxist-feminist filmmaking.
SALT OF THE EARTH — Analysis of ideology and structure in one of the most important anti-racist, feminist, working-class fictional films ever made in USA.
LIFEGUARD — Beyond love and money in Southern California: review cites film's use of sexual relations to refurbish old American anxieties on measuring success in capitalist society.
HESTER STREET — Main character in film, Gitl, faces conflict between traditional values and the New World, finding that marriage and immigration don't always mix.
RULES OF THE GAME — Utilizing Roland Barthes' S/Z, article develops a new way of analyzing the connotations of masculine and feminine.
British Feminist Film Theory — Perspectives and problems raised by socialist feminist film critics in London.
Pornography — Article argues pornography is exploitation of women, not a civil rights issue.
No. 14 (March, 1977)
CARRIE — The horror of growing up female (part of issue's section on Women & Violence).
MARATHON MAN — Review examines differences in film between male and female power.
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, JACKSON COUNTY JAIL, and GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE — The meat hook mama, the nice girl, and Butch Cassidy in drag" all figure in three film versions of women caught up in violence.
UNION MAIDS — Portraits of three women union organizers active from the 1930's to the present, with abundance of period material (film by Reichert, Klein, and Mogulescu).
HARLAN COUNTY — Review and interview with filmmaker Barbara Kopple, describing the struggles of Kentucky coal miners to organize: as in SALT OF THE EARTH, the women take over the picket lines.
No. 15 (July, 1977)
JONAH WHO WILL BE 25 IN THE YEAR 2000 — Differing reviews see Tanner's film as full of revolutionary optimism and as sexist.
EFFI BRIEST and THE MARQUISE OF O — Two historical portraits by Fassbinder and Rohmer critique the nuclear family and the power plays in marriage.
SEVEN BEAUTIES — Wertmuller opposes abject survivalism to suicidal protest.
DOG DAY AFTERNOON — The real-life DOG DAY hero tells his story.
HARLAN COUNTY — Beyond the fiction-like structure, film stands as a powerful documentary of women's lived experiences, registering the dedication, suffering and solidarity.
CAR WASH — Though joyfully showing workers' immense survival spirit, film does glorify backward male-supremacist attitudes.
No. 16 (Nov, 1977)
MEDICAL CENTER — Analysis of the television show about a transsexual reveals that program is still oppressive in its treatment of the women characters.
JEANNE DIELMAN — Akerman portrays three full days in the life of a housewife prostitute with ethnographic detailing; review faults film's view of "housewifery."
LUMIERE — All dressed up and nowhere to go: Moreau's protagonists are actresses who are seen as still too worried about keeping that man.
LIKE A ROSE — Review of Barret and Page's documentary, a sympathetic look at friendships and hardships of women in prison.
THE DEEP — Male bonding and control over technology force heroine into a minor role as the picture progresses.
KING KONG — Anthropomorphism of updated Kong is essential to film's humanizing" of rape.
UNDERGROUND — Internal critique written by women in the Weather Underground charges that film "reeks of male supremacy from beginning to end."
Gays and Film: A Special Section — Dialogue on gays, film, and the left; images of gay men in films noirs; independent filmmaking by and for gay men; gay images in Bertolucci's films. Focus is on gay men, but introduction and editorial stress need for left to fight against sexism and heterosexism, and to struggle for rights of lesbians and gay men.
No. 17 (April, 1978)
HEALTHCARING: FROM OUR END OF THE SPECULUM — Political evaluation by a nurse of Denise Bostrom and Jane Warrenbrand's documentary on women's health care: the film stresses grass-roots, alternative health care and "good vibes."
THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY — The film analyzes the health-care industry, shows an inexpensive, safe form of obstetrical care — home birth used by the Chicago working class for many years, and documents the combined community and feminist struggle to keep the Maternity Center open. Interview with the filmmakers, the Kartemquin-Haymarket collective, details the political decisions in making such a film.
HIS GIRL FRIDAY — Hawks' classic screwball comedy seems to challenge traditional sex roles, but it still relies on old myths of adventure, romantic love, and a presumed necessary separation of home and work.
No. 18 (Aug, 1978, available only through University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI)
JULIA — How Hollywood has digested the women's movement: the Special Woman can have success and an enduring friendship with another woman without competing for a man or for power.
ICI ET AILLEURS and SIX FOIS DEUX — French critics debate the value of Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville's most recent work, much of which deals with the relation of sexual and family politics to other social/economic/political communication structures.
STAR WARS — Myths of individual heroism, chivalric romance, and patriarchal, phallic power shape this film, in which the men need the women as motivation, as spectators, and as mediators between the different levels of the male hierarchy.
Gays in Film — Crucial aesthetic principles are accepted as "givens" in the emerging gay criticism, yet it still reflects the assumptions of mainstream heterosexual culture.
POSITIVE IMAGES: A guide to non-sexist films for young people — a revised version of Linda Artel and Susan Wengraf's introduction to their book, along with a critical review re-evaluating the very notion of a "positive image."
LUMIERE — Exchange in "Critical Dialogue" about the "older woman women's sensuality, and women's friendships.
No. 19 (Dec, 1978)
JULIA and THE TURNING POINT — Characterization and female friendships in the new women's films are contrasted with the male-bonding in buddy" films.
THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM — Prophetic fictional treatment of the murder of a jailed German woman blasts the way the state and the press violate human rights in a "democracy."
IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN — Critical review of film about lesbian mothers and their children. Interview with Iris Films collective on the film's use in custody cases.
The Crisis of Naming in Feminist Film Criticism-Theoretical article on the need of women critics to "name" and create meaning, to bring women's issues as defined by women "into history:' and to overthrow the parameters of male-defined criticism.
THE LACEMAKER vs. FREE BREATHING — Two films about working-class women, one by Claude Goretta and the other by Maria Mezaros, are contrasted; the former uses the woman as in a genre painting in mysterious, mythical terms for what she means to men; the latter shows the woman moving toward independence and self-awareness.
RAPE — JoAnn Elam's feminist, experimental documentary shows angry rape victims analyzing their experiences and taking the offensive. This contrasts to the pathetic and metaphorical treatment of rape in Mitchell Block's NO LIES.
LUCIA — (Part of special section on Cuban film.) The critic analyzes sexual politics in the epic Cuban film about three women through close attention to the film's visual style. Also an interview with the director, Humberto Solas.
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER — Review by a Cuban critic of the only Cuban feature directed by a woman, Sara Gomez. The film looks at the personal side of contemporary Cuban life, especially love and male chauvinism, in order to trace the ways, often only with struggle, that revolution effects changes in individuals.
No. 20 (May, 1979)
REMEMBER MY NAME — From viewpoint of a particularly isolated and exploited woman character, the film examines the benumbed terror and decultured blandness of American life.
GIRLFRIENDS — Claudia Weill's commercial feature is about some "real women" but not about authentic female friendship or love between women.
Gay Film Work — Discussion of 17 films on gays and their experience, which were shown at the 1978 Conference of the American Library Association. Three genres (confessional films, documentaries of events, and parodies or satires of straight prejudices and gay stereotypes.)
WITH THE CUBAN WOMEN — Reminds us in less than an hour that genuine equality between the sexes comes with great difficulty (part of a second special section on Cuban cinema).
Films of Manuel Octavio Gomez — Investigates the interconnectedness of people in a revolutionary society, of past and present, of personal and political, yet the women, strong and independent as they are, are ultimately idealized and evaluated by male standards.
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER — Presents Mario and Yolanda's affair as a "moment" of the whole of their culture and uses that love relation as a vehicle to examine the interconnectedness between social structures and possibilities for both personal and political change.
WAYS OF SEEING — A new way of seeing and thinking about the images of women that surround us.
No. 21 (Nov, 1979)
VIOLETTE — How the movie that might have been an indictment of the patriarchal nuclear family is turned into an ambiguous mystery.
The Films of Shirley MacLaine — Book review and Critical Dialogue debate star study, stereotype, the success myth, and star models — and the place of all these in feminist film criticism.
WORD IS OUT — Critiques important documentary about lesbians and gay men for not offering analysis of homophobia.
HEALTHCARING: FROM OUR END OF THE SPECULUM — Healthcare workers debate tactics for educating public about medical industry in "Critical Dialogue
JULIA — More debate on this controversial "women's" film.
Alternative Cinema Conference, Summer 1979 — A history of U.S. radical film and an analysis of and responses to this historic conference of radical and feminist filmmakers in New York State.
No. 22 (May, 1980)
NORMA RAE, CRYSTAL LEE JORDAN, THE INHERITANCE — Discusses films about struggles to unionize textile workers, especially in J.P. Stevens.
PORTRAIT OF TERESA — Cuban feature most explicitly dealing with sexual politics since ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
A COMEDY IN SIX UNNATURAL ACTS and THE CHICAGO MATERNITY CENTER STORY — Editorial protests WNET censorship of feminist, lesbian, and other radical films.
THE CHINA SYNDROME — Two views of the film and especially Jane Fonda's role.
Quebec cinema — History of cinema in Quebec with emphasis on nationalist and progressive efforts, including recent women's films.
Alternative Cinema Conference — Documentation which includes reports and resolutions from the Lesbian and Gay Men's, Feminist, Socialist Feminist, and Third World Caucuses.
No. 23 (Nov, 1980)
URBAN COWBOY and BRONCO BILLY — Modern cowboys spend most of their time punching women.
KRAMER VS. KRAMER — Dad takes on Mother-Right.
THE BLACK STALLION — Children's adventure fantasy allows only white male characters gratifying achievement.
DAUGHTER RITE — Experimental narrative analyzes daughters' conflicts with their mothers.
Women's Space in Early Soviet Cinema — Theoretical analysis of cinematic depiction of domestic space.
DRESSED TO KILL — Film has generated sexist lie in ads; effective protest leaflet is reprinted.
WINDOWS — Man in U.S. penitentiary protests showing of misogynist film there.