by Andrea Weiss, with help from Altermedia, Women Make Movies and Greta Schiller
Cut, no. 24-25, March 1981, pp. 22, 50-51
In compiling this filmography I kept running into the question, "What constitutes a lesbian film?" In the hope that all women are capable of identifying with the experience of loving women, and not knowing whether or not all of these filmmakers are lesbians, or whether they want to be publicly identified as such, I have decided to include independent films by women — lesbian and not. In a few cases, I have included films made jointly by women and men. The films in this filmography are either specifically about some aspect of lesbianism or else in some way involve lesbian sexuality or lesbian experiences.
16 MM SHORT FILMS (ONE HOUR OR LESS)
AFTER THE GAME by Donna Gray. 20 mm, b/w. Iris Films/Multi-Media Resource Center/Focus International/ National Film Library of Canada. Two young women discover their attraction for each other.
APARTMENTS by Megan McMurchy (Australia, 1977). 10 min., b/w. Sidney Filmmakers Co-op. A woman's relationship with her male lover disintegrates as she develops a romantic obsession with her neighbor.
A COMEDY IN SIX UNNATURAL ACTS by Jan Oxenberg (1975). 26 mm., b/w. Iris Films. A dramatic comedy satire on lesbian stereotypes, featuring the seductress, the child molester, and the wallflower.
COMING OUT by the Berkeley Lesbian Feminist Film Collective. "Reflects the stages of … early awkwardness and self doubt … and ends with two minutes of stills indicating the road beyond." — Northampton Women's Film Co-op.
COMING TO KNOW by Marie Ashton (1976). 9 min., b/w. Serious Business Company. Two young women discuss how they discovered their interest in women.
COOL HANDS, WARM HEART by Sue Friedrich (1979). 16 min., b/w, silent. Women Make Movies. An experimental film about the violence in women's daily rituals, in counterpoint with the personal interactions between two women.
CUMULUS NIMBUS by Virginia Giritlian (1973). 6 min., b/w. Serious Business Company. This film deals with the erotic wish of a young woman who is wondering if she is a lesbian.
DEBROSSES by Tracy Fitz. 5 min., b/w. Women's Interart Center. A woman's encounter with herself.
DOUBLE STRENGTH by Barbara Hammer ([978). 17 mm., color. Women Make Movies & Iris & Goddess Films. In love with the girl on the flying trapeze.
DYKETACTICS by Barbara Hammer. (1974) 4 mm., color. Women Make Movies & Goddess Films. "An erotic lesbian commercial." — B.H.
EXOTICA NUMERO UNA by Winona Holloway & Marcia Still. 8 mm., silent. An erotic film of two lesbian lovers.
FAREWELL TO CHARMS by Carla Pontiac (Australia, 1979). 12 mm., color. Women Make Movies. A thoroughly engrossing yarn about the adventures of three women.
GETTING READY by Janet Meyers. 50 mm. A film of the friendship of two adolescent girls.
GRETA'S GIRLS by Greta Schiller and Thomas Said. 18 mm., b/w. Women Make Movies. A day in the life of two women who are just beginning their relationship together.
HOLDING by Connie Beeson (1971). 15 mm., color. Serious Business Company. A "how to" explicit sex film from the Notional Sex Forum.
HOME MOVIE by Jan Oxenberg (1972). 12 min., color. Iris Films. An autobiographical film about how one woman came to recognize her love for other women.
I'M NOT ONE OF THEM by Jan Oxenberg. (1974) 3 mm., b/w. Iris Films. A woman spectator at the roller derby talks about her unique experiences with lesbianism.
IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN by Iris Films. 53 mm., color. (1977) Black, white, and Latina lesbian mothers and their children present the subject of child custody.
JILL JOHNSTON OCTOBER 1975 by Lydia Wazana and Kay Armitage. (Canada, 1977) 30 mm., Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Center. A film of lesbian author Jill Johnston's visit to Toronto.
LAVENDER by Elaine Jacobs and Colleen Monahan (1972). 13 min., color. Perennial Education. Two lesbians talk about their lives: one wants to be a minister, the other a housewife. They watch tv, hang out in a bar, and embrace constantly.
LEBISIA by Jere van Syoc. (1979) 40 mm. Autobiographical film about the women in her life and her own life. Experimental, ironic.
LUNA TUNE by Carol Clement. (1977) 2 mm., color. Women Make Movies. A blue and white sand animation celebrating women's spirituality, with the voice of the 80-year old lesbian poet, Elsa Gidlow.
MUSIC FROM THE HEART by Sharon Karp, Joan Nixon, and Judy Whitaker. 20 min., color. Karp. Documentary of the Women's Music Festival in Champaign IL, 1976.
NEW ROMANCE — ASPECTS OF SEXUALITY AND SEXUAL ROLES by Janet Walczewski and Susan Gabori. (1975). Canadian Nat'l Film Board. Interviews with inarticulate pioneers of the "new sexual consciousness," including stereotypical lesbian and gay couples.
OCTOBER 14 FILM PROJECT. Work in progress. For information, contact Women Make Movies. An exciting documentation of the First National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and the Third World Gay Conference that preceded it.
ON A COLD AFTERNOON by Barbara Jabaily. 8 mm., b/w. Women's Interart Center. A cold sexual encounter on a cold afternoon.
ON THE BEACH by Darlene Mitera. (1978) 15 min. b/w. A documentary film about the tension between an older woman whose husband has left her and taken away the children, and the filmmaker, a younger lesbian who is both observer and catalyst for her lover's changes.
PRISMS by Laurie Seligman, 38 mm., b/w. A portrait of a young lesbian working through the aftermath of a relationship.
SANDY AND MADELAINE'S FAMILY by Sherrie Ferrell, Gordon Hill, and Peter Bruce. (Canada, 1973) 28 mm. City Films, Multi-Media Resource. A film about a lesbian couple, their children, and their struggle for custody.
SHOWTIME by Jan Chapman (Australia, 1978). 17 mm., color. Sydney Filmmakers Co-op. A young woman teacher in a small town has a relationship with her school's woman principal. Trouble and a sad ending follow.
THE SIGN by Cindy Carr, Doreen Bartoni, and Judy Whitaker (1980). 5 min./color. Silent. Whitaker. A "lavender" frolic.
SILVERPOINT by Barbara Linkevitch. (1974) 25 min. color. Serious Business Company. A young woman dancer loves another woman and loses her to a third — a study of jealousy and loneliness.
SUPERDYKE by Barbara Hammer. 20 mm., color. Goddess Films. A tribe of Amazons takes over San Francisco.
SUPERDYKE MEETS MADAM X by Barbara Hammer. 20 min., b/w. Goddess Films. An account of a lesbian relationship on film, transferred from video.
SUSANA by Susana Blaustein. (1980) 25 min., b/w. Women Make Movies. A moving, humorous self-portrait of an Argentine lesbian, with special attention given to the filmmaker's relation with her straight sister.
TREAD SOFTLY by Di Drew. (1979). 28 min., color. Film and TV School, Sydney, Australia. Story of obsessive love between two women.
WE ARE OURSELVES by Ann Hersey. IS mm., color. Multi-Media Resource Center. Explicit sex; another "how to" film from the National Sex Forum.
WHEEL DREAM by Barbara Jabaily. 6 min., b/w. Women's Interart Center. The erotic dreams of a woman making pottery.
WITCHES AND FAGGOTS, DYKES AND POOFTERS by the One in Seven Collective. (Australia, 1979) 45 mm., color. Sidney Filmmakers Co-op. Iris Films. An historical view of the oppression of lesbians and gay men, with emphasis on recent incidents of police brutality against gay activists in Sydney, Australia.
A WOMAN'S PLACE IS IN THE HOUSE: A PORTRAIT OF ELAINE NOBLE by Nancy W. Porter and Mickey Lemie (1975). 30 mm., color. Texture Films. A day in the life of Massachusetts State Representative, Elaine Noble.
WOMEN I LOVE by Barbara Hammer. 27 mm, color. Goddess Films. Iris Films. Portraits of the filmmaker's lovers and their environments.
WORLD OF LIGHT: A PORTRAIT OF MAY SARTON by Morita Simpson and Martha Wheelock. 30 mm., color. Ishtar Films. A documentary portrait of the lesbian writer.
FEATURE FILMS (OVER ONE HOUR)
THE DOZENS by Christine Dali and Randall Conrad. (1980) 78 mm., color. Christine Dall A moving narrative film about a woman in jail and her relationship with another woman prisoner.
ERIKA'S PASSION (ERIKAS KAS LEIDENSCHAFTEN) by Ula Stockl. (1976). 71 mm. Limited nonprofit distribution through the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. Two old friends begin to realize their attraction to each other and react with hostility.
JE TU IL ELLE by Chantal Akerman (France). 70 mm., color. Belgium Foreign Ministry. A fictional, experimental narrative in three sections, one third of which shows the protagonist with her woman lover.
MAEDCHEN IN UNIFORM by Leontine Sagan (1931, Germany). Dist. by Films Inc. Another version was made in the 1950s with Lilly Palmer.
OLIVIA (PIT OF LONELINESS) by Jacqueline Audry. (1951, France). 88 mm. Film Classics Exchange. A classic tear-jerker, based on Collette's novel of the same name, and like MAEDCHEN, about girls and teachers in a boarding school.
THREE LIVES by Kate Millett and Susan Kleckner (1970). 75 mm., color. American Federation of the Arts. Icarus Films. Portraits of three women discussing their lives. One is an aggressive, young lesbian.
A WOMAN LIKE EVE by Nouuka Van Brakel (Netherlands, 1979). 90 min., color. Sigma Films.
SUPER 8MM FILMS
CHANGES by Jacqui Duckworth and Joy Chamberlain. (England, 1980) Feature-length work in progress. A somewhat humorless exploration of the changing relationships between the women who are making the film.
HOW THE HELL ARE YOU? by Veronica Soul. 12 mm. Cooperatif des cineastes independents
MONDAY MORNING PRONOUNS by Micki Dickoff. 50 mm., color. An ambitious film that documents the saga of a lesbian in a hostile world.
THE FIGHT by Jenny Orvino. 30 mm., 1/2 inch open reel. For all-women audiences only. By re-viewing a video tape of themselves, two lesbian mothers discuss how they perceive their interactions.
IN THE PICTURES by Gunilla Mallory-Jones. 22 mm., 3/4 inch, color. Ithaca Video Project. An interesting portrait of lesbian choreographer Marcia Pally.
INTERVIEW WITH ARLENE RAVEN by Lynn Blumenthal and Nancy Bowen. (1979) 40 min., b/w, 3/4" cassette. Video Data Bank. Part of a women in art series of tapes that also include interviews with Audrey Flack, Lucy Lippard, and Betty Parsons.
LESBIAN CONFERENCE '73 by Vulva Video. 30 mm 1/2" open reel. Videopolis. Documents the National Lesbian Conference.
LAVENDER TROUBADOUR. (1976) 60 mm. Video Access Project, Portland OR. A dramatic narration of the personal and tragic story of two lesbians and the oppressive backlash they experienced.
LESBIAN MOTHERS by Amazon Media Project. Interviews with lesbian mothers, their children, and people on the street.
LESBIANS by Portland N.O.W. (1975) 1/2', color, open reel. Video Access Project. Panel discussion by five lesbians who attempt "to diminish myths and stereotyped views about lesbians."
LIVES 1,2,3,4 by Jenny Orvino and Martha Spencer. 55 mm. 1/2 inch, open reel. An autobiographical documentary two lesbian mothers, who discuss their feelings about each other. Shot in six weeks out of the mothers' and children's lives.
MARIANNE AND MOYA by Liz Mersky. (1977) 25 mm., b/w. 1/2 or 3/4 inch. Available for rental to small groups. Local Vision. Documentary about a loving relationship between two women, their biographies, and the functioning or their household with children.
SEXUAL FANTASY CONFERENCE by Rikki Ripp. (1973) 12 mm. Videopolis. Costume party in New York City sponsored by NOW in which women enact their fantasies.
THREE WOMEN by Anda Korsts. (1975). 90 mm., 3/4" cassette. A recording of the play, which was developed by the actresses and performed in Chicago.
Many of these are distributed only as part of a lecture. Contact the individual women below for further information if a distributor is not given.
EROTICISM AND PORNOGRAPHY: THE LESBIAN PERSPECTIVE by Marie Kuda. Slides and readings designed to elicit a dialogue on this contemporary issue.
FALLEN ANGELS by Andrea Weiss. Work in progress. A collection of slide collages made from photos of women outlaws of the Old West. The images are manipulated and overlaid with fragments from various written texts. Featured are cigar-smoking "Poker Alice" Tubbs, Oklahoma adolescent outlaws "Cattle Annie" and "Little Breeches," and notorious Belle Starr, among others.
A FAMILY OF FRIENDS: PORTRAIT OF A LESBIAN FRIENDSHIP GROUP, 1921-1973 by Frances Doughty. 1 1/2 hr. long. The group includes the publishers of The Little Review, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap; the New Yorker's correspondent from Paris, Janet Flanner; Georgette Leblanc, French writer, actress, and singer; Solita Solano, writer and editor; and writer, Dorothy Caruso. This presentation uses letters and photographs from scrapbooks in the Library of Congress, and the writings of Katheryn Hulme, author of The Nun's Story.
THE GREAT AMERICAN LESBIAN ART SHOW (GALAS) by Bia Lowe, Louise Moore, Jody Palmer, Barbara Stirpha, Tyaga, and Terry Wolverton. (1980). Lesbian Herstory Archives. Woman's Building. Slides of contemporary art by lesbians from around the US who participated in GALAS.
LESBIAN IMAGES IN PHOTOGRAPHY: 1850-1980 by J.E.B. (Joan E. Byron). 2 1/2 hr. long. Moonforce Media. Asserts the existence of a lesbian iconography.
LESBIANS IN LITERATURE by Marie Kuda. 280 slides and reference to 400 book titles. An overview of the lesbian as author and subject in literature from Sappho to the present.
LESBIAN MASQUERADE by San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. History Project/Iris Films. Documents the exciting and colorful lives of lesbians who passed as men in early San Francisco.
LESBIAN SEXUAL IMAGERY IN THE FINE ARTS by Tee Corinne. 2 hr. Lesbian Herstory Archives. This program deal with images of women loving women as portrayed in the fine arts of the past — from Asia Minor, Greece, India, China, Japan, and Renaissance Europe — and in recent and contemporary images made by women.
PRESERVING OUR HERITAGE: ISSUES AND CHALLENGES OF DOING LESBIAN HISTORY RESEARCH by Lesbian Herstory Archives. Gives a brief history of Lesbian Herstory Archives and presents different aspects of lesbian culture.
THE PUBLIC AND THE PRIVATE: LESBIAN ART AND ARTISTS by Andrea Weiss. I hr. Part of a larger slide collection, FROM IMAGE TO IMAGE MAKER: A SURVEY OF US AND EUROPEAN WOMEN'S ART HISTORY. This presentation focuses on the work of lesbian artists from the 19th and early 20th century. The artists presented include Rosa Bonheur, Anna Klumpke, Romaine Brooks, and a group of U.S. lesbian and feminist sculptors in Rome constituting "the White Marmorean Flock." The presentation combines slides of painting and sculpture with old photographs, biographical and historical information, and selections from the artists' personal writings.
STYLES OF BEING LESBIAN IN PARIS, 1890-1945: AN HISTORICAL RE-VISION by Frances Doughty and Tee Corinne. 2 hr. Doughty. A survey of varied lesbian lifestyles, lesbian bars and prostitutes as portrayed by Toulouse Lautrec; Loië Fuller, Louise Weber, the Barney Circle, Beech, Monnier; drag bars in the 1930s; Stein and Toklas; the Gurdjieffians — Jane Heap, Margaret Anderson, and Solita Solano; Janet Flanner; and many others.
TRANSLATIONS by Jo Goodwin. Woman's Building. An exchange between Lesbian and feminist artists working in the U.S. and Mexico.
WOMEN-LOVING WOMEN by Pat Gozemba and Marilyn Humphries. Color. Slide-tape with two tape cassettes and two carrousels or 3/4" video cassette. Gozemba. Rental or purchase possible. Explores misconceptions about lesbianism and documents contributions of lesbians to arts and society. Useful for presenting the "normalcy" of lesbian life styles to straight audiences, such as high school and college classes.
WOMAN*WORKS by Arlene Raven. Woman's Building. Presentation of historical and contemporary lesbian art, including the Lesbian Art Project at the Woman's Building in Los Angeles.