New York Feminist Film Week Showcases Films that Need to be Seen

By Sophie Bennett, Staff Writer

Anthology Film Archives is an organization that focuses on certain stories or filmmakers and the incredible work surrounding them. For a week Anthology is doing a series examining feminist filmmaking, specifically filmmaking about experiences of cis women of color as well as the LGBTQ women community. Films ranged from discussions of stereotyping themes of women of different races to transphobia to homophobia to stigma around illness and disabilities. These films contain important dialogue about society and their view of all different types of people.

One film that grabbed my attention was a short film that followed the story of a transman living out of his car and constantly dealing with prejudice and judgment. The film is called “Black is Blue,” directed by Cheryl Dunye, because the character’s name pre-transition was Blue and after transition is Black. A documentary style short that showed Black living in constant duress and struggling with things from finding and apartment to dating post-transition. The film used interviews with the character as well as his daily life. It was a very memorable film specifically by the Dunye’s use of interviews throughout the film and the exceptional performance of Kingston Farady.

Another striking film was a horror-esque short called “Carnal Orient. The film, by Mila Zuo and Angela Seo, showed aggressive males eating as they watch an Asian woman dancing and singing. The film’s cinematography and direction was extremely striking. It was created as a reaction to a music video called “Asian Girlz.” The music video had many stereotypes of Asian women and degraded them in the process. After seeing this destruction of Asian woman culture, the filmmakers chose to respond by bringing awareness to this issue and the lack of Asian woman representation in the media and how this results in content like the horrifying “Asian Girlz” with an incredible short film.

There were more series of shorts, which used dolls and other figurines to tell a story of stereotyping of LGBTQ women. The series, known as “Dykeumentary,” exposed the lack of all-gender bathrooms, as well as stereotypes of “butch and femme” identity, and the pressures of women in society to conform. The filmmakers used sometimes very blatant and other times more subtle narration and/or subtitles to explain the struggles of the LGBTQ community in society. One of the most memorable storylines within the series is called “Faggotgirl.” It is a doll (superhero) version of the filmmaker that goes around the city with subtitles tackling important issues of society. For example it shows how the doll’s home city is so terrible at giving people with disabilities proper public transportation as well as simple things like ramps along the sidewalks, which make it difficult to get around the city.

This series ranges from DIY films to incredible cinematography and casting, however they all dive right into the exploration of women in society. Each film has it’s own individual style and message to tackle racism, sexism, and transphobia. All the films are memorable in their own ways and feel extremely relevant now with a president who repeatedly shows a lack of acceptance with these issues. Films like these are important now more than ever.

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