Images from the great ‘Delphine Seyrig Defiant Muses ‘exhibition. The greatness of the exhibition is in conveying a range of feminist practices, collective and social, international, ranging from issues on abortion to sex work to trans performances of classic American plays, to the liberation of video as form, to the value even of unproduced feminist film projects (Calamity Jane). And a range of relationships between women (Duras, Ulrike Ottinger, Agnès Varda, Simone de Beauvoir and so many more whose names don´t mean as much to me. I was delighted to see Jean Genet speaking up for Angela Davis and the Black Panthers as part of the work produced by Seyrig and the feminist collectives she was a part of.
Here is the program:
Plus some more images and text I thought some of you might find interesting:
Has anyone done a book or thesis on hairdos and film? A day after seeing Jurassic World, the only thing I find vaguely amusing about the film is that Bryce Dallas Howard’s hair goes from straight to ‘naturally curly’ when she undergoes a transformation, just like used to happen to Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand in the 1970s, except there the transformation was from uptight and repressed or wanting to pass for WASP to liberation whereas in Jurassic World it’s from running a huge corporation to letting go of control and giving herself to Chris Pratt.
Now that we take CGI for granted, seeing dinosaurs is not a big deal; and Jurassic World doesn’t offer much more than that narratively or in terms of spectacle. Even the look of the film doesn’t seem as colourful or luminous as I would have wanted; the action sequences aren’t particularly exciting; and some of the performances, like Irrfan Kahn’s as Simon Masrani, are simply not good enough. One is left sadly pondering on how hairdos in Jurassic World are sign and proof of a particular kind of ideological regression in cinema and wishing someone would make a proper study of it.
A history lesson à la Classics Illustrated – the Scooby-Doo version – on the civil rights of black people in America told through an imaginative depiction of the life of Cecil Gains (Forest Whittaker), a White House butler who worked for eight different presidents, The Butler is nonetheless at times very moving. Moreover, the melodramatic story is wittily leavened by a humor that seems agreeably camp; camp that is enlivening, affirming and all the more pleasurable to see for being unusual in a story that focuses on an African-American family. Whittaker is better at conveying the emotion underneath the mask of blankness when with the presidents than the on-the surface human emotionality when with his family. Oprah Winfrey gets the down-low and sexy dimension of the wife just right, a considerable achievement given who she is and what she represents. There is a pleasure in seeing an all-star cast play these historical characters: when icons impersonate icons does the iconicity of each combine to jive or jar? I’ll leave it up to you to pick your favorites though I can’t resist mentioning that I was shocked at how Jane Fonda was made up to look, even if she was playing Nancy Reagan. A movie that has nothing to do with the art of cinema but a lot to do with the fulfillment of film’s role as ‘America’s National Theatre’; the way such films make Americans feel they’re taking part in a collective conversation; and the audience’s pleasure in seeing how wigs and costumes are used as a shortcut to period and how an array of actors, many treasured since childhood, are now doing, ‘being’ and enacting.