Why are only 8% of Hollywood movies produced by women, down from 9% 20 years ago? One Hollywood film-maker says the “male gaze” reinforced by a camera angle formula and a subject-object dynamic creates an industry rife with employment discrimination and sexual abuse and assault. That film-maker is Nina Menkes, the Producer and Director of Brainwashed: Sex Camera Power. The movie is showing now in select theaters and it is both disturbing and compelling, as well as uplifting.
Called “Brilliant, one of the most provocative artists in film today,” by The L.A. Times, and a “Cinematic Sorceress” by The New York Times, Menkes’ films synthesize inner dreamworlds with brutal outer realities. Her work has shown widely in major international film festivals, including Sundance, the Berlinale and Toronto and New York Film Festivals.
It a pleasure to chat with Nina Menkes, who loved my depiction of her cinematic argument as having been conducted with “litigious zeal.” Listen to the latest Cascadian Prophets podcast below.
Podcast (prophets-podcast): Play in new window | Download (Duration: 34:12 — )
Great interview, Paul! Studying film as a male undergrad, I nonetheless made the connection between flesh and film in part because of the female instructor’s insistence, and a mutual, comprehensive limerence, and her encouragement of my tender, young, immature writing. We also studied in those troubled late sixties essays like “Student as Nigger” and others ignorant of the “visual rhetoric” of discrimination and abuse that markedly changed me and so many others. . .forever walking away from film in 1969.
I hadn’t heard of this movie before, and can’t wait until it premieres in my area. Thank you for this great interview, Paul.