Sandra Sunrising Osawa is a Makah woman who forged her career in commercial nonfiction television, beginning with producing documentary series about Native Americans for NBC in the 1970s.
Osawa’s work often explores the nuances between sovereignty and the environment, as in 1995’s Lighting the 7th Fire, a PBS POV special about struggles over spear-fishing rights in Wisconsin, and 2000’s Unusual and Accustomed Places, which chronicles fishing rights battles for the Makah in Washington. In 2000, she produced and directed a documentary about Oneida stand-up comic Charlie Hill, called On & Off the Res’ w/Charlie Hill.
For Osawa, who worked in education and cultural preservation before turning to filmmaking, media is a tool for not only revitalization but decolonization: “I think media has long been an overlooked part of our struggles and true sovereignty cannot exist until we are truly able to tell our own stories.”“
It’s National Disabilities Awareness Month! We have a special episode of Sesame Street airing tomorrow featuring Brandeis, who is learning to be a service dog for people of differing abilities. Tune in tomorrow to meet him!
I know we’ve mentioned Pink Ribbons, Inc., but I want to remind everyone during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to think about the ways that disease (and bodies) are commodified and marketed. Think, too, about the links between cheaply-made goods (especially plastics) and a higher risk for cancer for those who work in or live near factories. Remember that white women are the face of this crusade, but black women are dying of it at much higher rates. (Which is to say nothing of women of color who aren’t in the U.S.)
There have been many survivor-oriented documentaries about breast cancer, including Beyond Breast Cancer: Stories of Survivors (2008), Rachel’s Daughters: Searching for the Cause of Breast Cancer (1997), The Breast Cancer Diaries (2008). Youtube hosts clips from these as well as many other videos and short documentaries by and about people experiencing breast cancer.
It’s a theme that’s popped up in some fictional media, too, like Pieces of April (2003), Terms of Endearment (1983), and (this season) on NBC’sParenthood. Interestingly, in spite of of the multibillion dollar breast cancer awareness industry, there really are few weighty fictional accounts, especially from the perspective of the afflicted. Consider, too, the hypersexualization of breast cancer awareness, and how this contrasts with the inability of filmmakers to regard breast cancer survivors as sexual subjects themselves.
Can you suggest any others?
I am putting together some posts about a colonialism and horror, but I want to share a few links relating to indigenous filmmaking and indigenous people in film in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day (fuck Columbus day). Feminist Film has relevant posts under #colonialism and #indigenous issues.
CBC, in conjunction with its documentary series 8th Fire, offers some material on Canadian aboriginal filmmakers. It’s great! You can also watch 8th Fire online, but I think it might only work in Canada.
Basically Black was the first all-indigenous tv show in Australia. We’ve mentioned this before, but I wanted to point out this site, which offers some information as well as reading materials about the history of aboriginal television in Australia.
Maori Television is a New Zealand station that was launched as part of an indigenous language and culture revitalization movement. Their website has videos, some of which are in English. Here’s an article about how Maori rights organizers worked to get it on the air, and why it’s important. In the future, I’ll try to find more articles about the connections between film (and television) and language revitalization globally.
TCM’s site has a section to accompany their Native American Images film series, which offers a essays about native representation in Hollywood. It’s actually pretty interesting.
Finally, Native Networks offers some resources for indigenous filmmakers and about indigenous film. It is part of the National Museum for the American Indian, which hosts the Native American Film + Video Festival.
I have also put together some information on native women filmmakers, but I’m gonna spread those posts out throughout the month!
I managed to (finally) update our topics and tags page. It’s far from exhaustive, but hopefully it’ll make the site more navigable and give you some insight into how we organize stuff. If you are looking for something in particular—say, Jersey Shore—you can look to see if we’ve got a tag for it: “http://feministfilm.tumblr.com/tagged/jersey+shore.” And there’s our search form, but tumblr’s search function is shady. Remember, you can always do a google search that looks like this: “Jersey Shore site:feministfilm.tumblr.com”
TOP 5 HORROR HEROINES
#4: Ashley Laurence as Kirsty Cotton in Hellraiser
When you think of the Hellraiser films, Kirsty Cotton isn’t exactly at the forefront of your mind. No, the focus lies with the twisted creations of Clive Barker - Pinhead and the other cenobites, which is a bit of a shame, really. To put it simply, Kirsty is the ultimate foil to Pinhead and his band of monsters. Like many other horror heroines, she represents goodness and hope. Most of all, she expresses curiosity and then repulsion when she comes across the box and learns of its true uses. Kirsty is also shown as being very loyal to her family. She out right resents her step mother, Julia and often takes her father’s side, and seems a bit wary when it comes to his choice of a wife. And by the end of the film, all of her precautions and suspicions are actually warranted. She literally loses what is most important to her, and by then she has nothing left to lose. To me, the Hellraiser series would just not be the same without seeing it through the eyes of Kirsty. Why? Because she basically represents the audience, by seeing and being exposed to the cenobites’ awful realm first hand - much like we were when we all first watched this film - she sort of guides you through this bizarre, unreal world, and all the while, we root for her. She’s an even stronger heroine in the film’s sequel, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, where she is hell-bent on delivering justice to her father, by taking on the cenobites. Both of these films are a must watch, Ashley Laurence plays her character very well and believably.
*I’ve included some pictures of her from a few of the Hellraiser comics I own, just because I thought it would be fitting - they really captured the actress’ likeness.
6 Great Coming of Age Films (featuring people of color):
Escaping a strict Muslim upbringing and painful memories, Tariq enters college and a completely different world. Amidst backlash and violence due to the 9/11 attacks, Tariq must reconcile his past with his faith, and his own beliefs.
Na-Mi transfers to a new school and sticks out like a sore thumb. A group of girls come to her aide, and they form a life-long bond.
Love of Siam (2007)
A tragic loss separates two childhood friends. Upon reuniting, years later, they explore new feelings.
A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.
The day Jordin is suspended from school for insulting a teacher, he meets Felipa, a bookish, no-nonsense New York girl who sees past the swaggering facade.
Set on the east coast of New Zealand in the year 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old kid and devout Michael Jackson fan gets a chance to know his father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.
*PBS also has a great selection of short films focused on “growing pains”.
We’ve got a horror-themed icon for a little while. Right now it’s Rhonda from Trick ‘r Treat, and (surprise) I’ve got some feelings about her. (Soon.) After Halloween we’ll go back to Rue! I promise.
I’m trying to keep up with some non-horror content, too, but I can’t make any promises. Are any of you guys writing about Fall shows? I have to admit I’m not really paying attention to much of it, but I’ve been reading a lot of people’s responses, to The Mindy Project especially. I’ll post some of that. Our friend Pilot is covering shows for the AV Club now, which is great and fated and we’re very happy for her because this is like her dream job and you should read her. She’s been writing about 2 Broke Girls, which is pretty much always of feminist concern.
If you’ve got some things to say about shows (or, you know, anything), submit.
Me? Uh…Saturday’s iCarly was amazing! I stay up all night, almost every night, and catch the early morning ABC Family Boy Meets World block wedged between the six a.m. evangelicals and 700 Club. I’d be writing about it, but I’ve become emotionally compromised by tearing open childhood Trailer Trash wounds and by the heavy, awful burden of Having Lived Through Nineties Family Values Neoliberal Bullshit. One never recovers! But I gotta say I’m not entirely mad: Eric Matthews might be one of my favorite television characters, like, ever? And the jokes are usually right on my level.
the long-haired girl tilting her face upward, making eye contact with the camera for creepy effect
the long-haired girl tilting her face upward, making eye contact with the camera for porn effect
By: Andrew O’Hehir
Some people will be thrilled by Andrea Arnold’s raw and daring reimagining of “Wuthering Heights” – and you can count me among them – and other people will be irritated or massively bored. But whatever you make of it, this movie isn’t like any British costume drama you’ve ever seen before. Arnold, the Scottish filmmaker whose previous work includes the gritty urban thriller “Red Road”and the intense sexual melodrama “Fish Tank,” isn’t going after Emily Brontë’s classic romance in some spirit of avant-gardism or postmodernism or anything like that. If anything, this is a pre-modern,stripped-down “Wuthering Heights,” an attempt to dig through the pages and pages of florid melodrama back to the elemental truths of life and love on the damp and frigid Yorkshire moors.
Considerable attention has been paid to the fact that Arnold has cast two actors of Afro-Caribbean heritage to play Heathcliff, the archetypal tortured romantic hero of Brontë’s novel. (Solomon Glave plays the foundling Heathcliff, in the early portion of the story, and the supremely handsome James Howson plays the adult gentleman who returns to reclaim his lost love.) But that only seems like a bizarre contemporary twist if you go by the film and TV versions, in which we’ve only seen white actors like Laurence Olivier, Ralph Fiennes or Tom Hardy take on the role. I mean, maybe Arnold has some political or cultural agenda about how Britain has always been a polyglot society, long before the era of immigration, but also maybe not. Fact is, in Brontë’s book, Heathcliff is pretty clearly not white,and what’s more he’s a character who befuddles the racial distinctions of the day. (read the rest at the link)
This looks really good. I haven’t read Wuthering Heights, but this reads to me like a conversation not dissimilar to Wide Sargasso Sea’s reclamation of Bertha/Antoinette’s voice in Jane Eyre, a colonial subject “writing back.” That link leads to an article looking at Wide Sargasso Sea, drawing from the book The Empire Writes Back’s assertion that reclaiming the voices of colonized people in literature questions “the bases of European and British metaphysics, challenging the world-view that can polarise centre and periphery in the first place.”
Because Heathcliffe is not exactly a white character in Wuthering Heights. In this chapter on postcolonial gothic by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, she calls Heathcliffe, along with Jane Eyre’s Bertha Mason, “defeated ‘colonials’ othered in their questionable racial provenance, swarthy and un-English.” There’s also a book called Windward Heights by Maryse Conde which reenvisions Wuthering Heights in a Caribbean setting.
The Paravisini-Gebert article mentioned both I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and White Zombie (1932), which are two early zombie films that demonstrate the myth’s origin in colonial/Caribbean literature and culture, as well as a representation of colonial society. The zombie is a concept originating in Caribbean and West African culture that became a symbol for white colonists of the potential danger of their “passive” oppressed subject. Amazing how that myth turned into one about American fears of being overtaken by an Other, right?
I love your scary movie list! While we’re on the subject of horror films, I’d be interested to hear your take on two of my favorites, “Martyrs” and “Frontieres.” Both are french and have women in the leading roles. The first is especially interesting because it centers around abuse of young women.
FF: I gotta say I almost added Martyrs to the list, but my mood and willingness to watch something that intense (tw abuse, etc.) fluctuates wildly, plus it doesn’t seem as much a strictly genre horror film as some of the others I listed. There’s definitely a place for that kind of French Extremism, though. I similarly almost added Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard to the list, since I’ve been dying to watch that one and it seems like it might quench the thirst of some gothic horror fans.
I hadn’t heard of Frontieres though!
sati5000 asked: I work in film and can offer a few suggestions! It's easiest to live in LA or NYC. If you don't have any contacts, save up a lot of money so you can work for free as a Production Assistant a few times before you started getting paid work. My best advice for PAs is to follow instructions, have an endless supply of energy for your 12-15 hours days, and never talk back to anyone. (Does this sound horrible? Don't bother. It sucks for most starting out and usually only the pay improves.)
Thanks so much! I’m gonna publish this and add it to a compiled tips page later :)
(Screencap from The House of the Devil by jurassicsquid)
It’s October (and I’m jobless), so, as you can expect, there’s gonna be a whole lot of horror around here. I’m offering to you the Feminist Film 2012 Horror Marathon, a (by no means exhaustive) list of horror films of (festive) feminist interest. I forced myself to narrow down five essential picks for Feminist Film readers—the five I’m most excited about right now, the five I think you’ve gotta see—and those are marked with a (†). The asterisk (*) denotes films that are specifically on my own personal watch list for this month, most of which I haven’t seen.
Keep in mind that the majority of these films involve gore and violence against women, and many of them also contain sexual assault and abuse. If you have any concerns before you watch a film, I’m totally willing to let you know in more detail what kind of issues the film has. Stay safe!
Here’s the roll:
American Psycho (2000)
Blood Diner (1987)
Blood Feast (1963)
Cabin Fever (2002)
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)
The Company of Wolves (1984)*
Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009)*
The Descent (2005)*
The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Eyes Without a Face (1960)*
Ginger Snaps (2000)†
The Haunting (1963)
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
The House by the Cemetery (1981)*
The House of the Devil (2009)†
In My Skin (2002)*
The Innkeepers (2011)
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
The Last Exorcism (2010)
The Last House on the Left (1972 and/or 2009 remake)
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)*
The Loved Ones (2009)†
The Orphanage (2007)*
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Santa Sangre (1989)*
Severe Injuries (2003)
The Shining (1980)
Silent House (2010)*
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut (2008)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2008)
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Trouble Every Day (2001)*
Wolf Creek (2005)
The Woman in Black (2012)*
I’m also in the mood to watch tons of haunted house films, a Mario Bava or two, something else from the New French Extremity school, the entire Texas Chainsaw franchise, that remake of The Wicker Man with Nic Cage, some of the Saw films,and basically every widely distributed horror film from the past ten years. Not to mention whatever’s in theaters (I’m really itching for that J-Law number!)
I’ve watched quite a few horror films so far this Fall, many of which are on this list and many of which are less relevant, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Poltergeist, The Reaping, The Cabin in the Woods, the entire Paranormal Activity franchise (the third made up for the first two and I admit I’m excited for number four), The Blair Witch Project, The Possession, The Unborn, The Devil Inside, Hellraiser, and Pieces.
I’ll be rebloggin’ relevant horror posts from across tumblr all month. If you’re a horror fan and and looking for good gif blogs to follow, attackofthegiantants is one of the best around. (Gore warning, of course.) I think it’s really important to support women who are producing knowledge and material in fandoms, and gifs are such a big part of the horror fandom. (Also, keep an eye out for attackofthegiantants’s horror heroine series, which I’ll continue to reblog here.)
As always, submit!