Thursday, April 16, 2020

Women Make Film 7: Bodies, Sex

From Chapter 18: Bodies: Khaneh siah ast / خانه سیاه است / The House is Black / Forough Farrokhzad, IR 1963. Screenshot from the Women Make Film website

From Chapter 19: Sex: Mossane / Safi Faye, DE/SN 1996. Screenshot from the Women Make Film website.

Women Make Film. A New Road Movie Through Cinema
Women Make Film. Uusi matka elokuvaan

GB © 2019 How To Make A Movie Ltd. PC: Hopscotch Films. P: John Archer. EX: Clara Glynn, Tilda Swinton. Assistant P: Sonali Choudhury. Associate P: Carl Beauchamp, Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Barbara Timmer.
    D+SC: Mark Cousins. Sound mixing: Diane Jardine. S: Joe Harfield. ED+script consultant: Timo Langer. Online: Chas Chalmers. Edit assistant: Scott Bilsbrough. P coordinator: Mhairi Valentine. P team: David Brown, Rowan Ings, Raja Kryda. World Sales: Dogwoof. Head of sales: Ana Vicente. Legal: David Burgess.
    14 hours
    Festival premiere: 1 Sep 2018 Venice Film Festival
    Finnish telepremieres of the 14 episodes: 3.3.2020, 10.3.2020, 17.3.2020, 24.3.2020, 1.4.2020, 8.4.2020, 15.4.2020
    Corona lockdown viewings.
    Yle Areena.
    Viewed on a 4K tv set at home in Helsinki, 16 April 2020.

Official synopsis: "The epic, four years in the making, still in production, is made up of forty “chapters” to be narrated by Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda and other key women in cinema, still to be announced. Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema follows in the footsteps of Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film: An Odyssey, to give us a guided tour of the art and craft of the movies. Using almost a thousand film extracts from thirteen decades and five continents, Cousins asks how films are made, shot and edited; how stories are shaped and how movies depict life, love, politics, humour and death, all through the compelling lens of some of the world’s greatest directors – all of them women."

Episode 7/14: Bodies, Sex
Jakso 7/14: Keho ja seksi

Narrators: Jane Fonda, Kerry Fox
Finnish / Swedish subtitles: Tiina Kähkönen / Sari Östman

Chapter 18. Bodies

L'une chante l'autre pas / One Sings, The Other Doesn't / Onni on olla nainen / Agnès Varda, VE/FR/BG 1977
15Malaysia: short film Chocolate / Yasmin Ahmad, MY 2009
Tomboy / Céline Sciamma, FR 2011 [unreleased in Finland]
Fish Tank / Fish Tank / Andrea Arnold, GB/NL 2009
Khake sar beh mohr / خاک مهر شده / The Sealed Soil / Marva Nabili, IR 1977 [unreleased in Finland]
Betoniyö / Concrete Night / Pirjo Honkasalo, FI/SE/DK 2013
Beau travail / Claire Denis, FR 1999 [unreleased in Finland]
Olympia, 2. Teil – Fest der Schönheit / Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty / Olympia II: Kauneuden juhla / Leni Riefenstahl, DE 1938
Mustang / Mustang / Deniz Gamze Ergüven, FR/DE/TR/QA 2015
Ritual in Transfigured Time / Maya Deren, US 1946
Khaneh siah ast / خانه سیاه است / The House is Black / Forough Farrokhzad, IR 1963
Niu pi / 牛皮 / Oxhide / Jiayin Liu, CN 2005 [unreleased in Finland]
Visages, villages / Faces Places / Kasvot, kylät / Agnès Varda & JR, FR 2017
Olympia, 2. Teil – Fest der Schönheit / Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty / Olympia II: Kauneuden juhla / Leni Riefenstahl, DE 1938
Ostatni etap / The Last Stage / Ken tästä käy / Wanda Jakubowska, PL 1947
Hypocrites / Lois Weber, US 1915
American Psycho / Amerikan psyko / Mary Harron, US 2000
Deutschland bleiche Mutter / Germany Pale Mother / Saksa, kalvas äiti / Helma Sanders-Brahms, DE 1980
Örökség / The Inheritance / Perijättäret / Marta Meszaros, FR/HU 1980
Évolution / Evolution / Lucile Hadžihalilović, FR/BE/ES 2015 [unreleased in Finland]

Chapter 19. Sex

Diabolo menthe / Peppermint Soda / Piparminttujuoma / Diane Kurys, FR 1977
Innocence / Viattomuus / Lucile Hadžihalilović, FR 2004
But I'm a Cheerleader / Olen kunnon tyttö / Jamie Babbit, US 1999
Mossane / Safi Faye, DE/SN 1996 [unreleased in Finland]
Attenberg / Athina Rachel Tsangari, GR 2010 [unreleased in Finland]
Dogfight / Mimmikisa / Nancy Savoca, US 1991
Mr. Pascal / Alison De Vere, GB 1979
American Honey / American Honey / Andrea Arnold, GB/US 2016
Under the Skin / Ihon alla / Carine Adler, GB 1997
Le Bonheur / Onnen hetket / Agnès Varda, FR 1965
Unsichtbare Gegner / Invisible Adversaries / VALIE EXPORT, AT 1977 [unreleased in Finland]
Desert Hearts / Yksinäiset sydämet / Donna Deitch, US 1985
The Future / Miranda July, DE/US/FR 2011 [unreleased in Finland]
XXY / Lucía Puenzo, AR/ES/FR 2007 [unreleased in Finland]
Toni Erdmann / Isäni Toni Erdmann / Maren Ade, DE/AU/CH/RO 2016
La Captive / Chantal Akerman, FR/BE 2000 [unreleased in Finland]
American Psycho / Amerikan psyko / Mary Harron, US 2000
À ma sœur ! / Fat Girl / Sisarelleni / Catherine Breillat, FR/IT 2001
The Diary of a Teenage Girl / The Diary of a Teenage Girl / Marielle Heller, US 2015
Tore tanzt / Nothing Bad Can Happen / Katrin Gebbe, DE 2013
O Amor Natural / Eroottisen rakkauden ylistys / Heddy Honigmann, NL 1996

AA: Many of the chapters of Mark Cousins's megalomaniac series are somewhat wayward in their discourse, which does not matter at all as long as the clips are great, as they invariably are. But these chapters (Bodies and Sex) make sense also in their argumentation.

In the chapter of Bodies we examine body language in everyday life (Agnès Varda's L'une chante l'autre pas) and many specialized occasions. A discovery is the Malaysian Yasmin Ahmad's Cholocate (this piece of hers for an anthology film is freely accessible online). Marva Nabili's The Sealed Soil again offers privileged revelations. The female gaze on men can be witnessed in Pirjo Honkasalo's The Concrete Night and Claire Denis's Beau travail. Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia II: Festival of Beauty is juxtaposed with Wanda Jakubowska's The Last Stage. Maya Deren approaches the body like a dancer. Forough Farrokhzad studies the condition of the leper in The House Is Black. Agnès Varda lets JR shoot her foot pad. Lois Weber shows The Naked Truth in Hypocrites. Mary Harron satirizes male narcissism in American Psycho.

The chapter on Sex is sexy, indeed, which is worth mentioning. 95% of the movies are pornographic, but pornography is hardly ever sexy, and as a rule sex scenes in regular movies are unconvincing.

Might it be that women are more talented in creating sex scenes? They may be explicit or not; the secret of sex is not in what can be explicitly shown. These scenes are warm or tender or rough, but they seem genuinely felt and exciting. Even the narrator Kerry Fox seems carried away by what she sees.

There is humour (Diane Kurys's Diabolo menthe), frank naked desire (Safi Faye's Mossane), one of the all time wittiest sex scenes (Alison de Vere's animation Mr. Pascal), a Godardian montage (Agnès Varda's Le Bonheur), a pioneering, frank Lesbian sex scene (Donna Deitch's Desert Hearts), a funny "safe sex" routine (Chantal Akerman's La Captive), and a life-affirming poem-driven finale (Heddy Honigmann's O Amor natural).

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