I consider that Kechiche and I have contradictory aesthetic approaches, perhaps complementary. The fashion in which he chose to shoot these scenes is coherent with the rest of what he his creation. Sure, to me it seems far away from my own method of creation and representation, but it would be very silly of me to reject something on the pretext that’s it different from my own vision.
That’s me as a writer. Now, as a lesbian…
It appears to me this was what was missing on the set: lesbians.
I don’t know the sources of information for the director and the actresses (who are all straight, unless proven otherwise) and I was never consulted upstream. Maybe there was someone there to awkwardly imitate the possible positions with their hands, and/or to show them some porn of so-called “lesbians” (unfortunately it’s hardly ever actually for a lesbian audience). Because — except for a few passages — this is all that it brings to my mind: a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn, and me feel very ill at ease. Especially when, in the middle of a movie theater, everyone was giggling. The heteronormative laughed because they don’t understand it and find the scene ridiculous. The gay and queer people laughed because it’s not convincing, and found it ridiculous. And among the only people we didn’t hear giggling were the potential guys too busy feasting their eyes on an incarnation of their fantasies on screen.
I totally get Kechiche’s will to film pleasure. The way he filmed these scenes is to me directly related to another scene, in which several characters talk about the myth of the feminine orgasm, as…mystic and far superior to the masculine one. But here we go, to sacralize once more womanhood in such ways. I find it dangerous.
As a feminist and lesbian spectator, I can not endorse the direction Kechiche took on these matters.
But I’m also looking forward to what other women will think about it. This is simply my personal stance.
Film is one of my great loves, if not the overarching great love of my life, linking all of my other favorite things together — I watch a film every day, even if I’ve seen it before. Here are my favorite films to watch that are “decidedly” feminist, as in, they talk about male gaze, sisterhood, identity politics, queerness, the sacrifice of motherhood, puritanical bullshit, race and class, #misandry, other stuff.
Some of these are triggering, all of them are magnificent. I really love these films so much and they all mean so many things to me, and I think maybe you will like them too. Feel free to reblog and add onto this, but if you come for me asking why so and so wasn’t on the list, I literally don’t care at all, this list is about my favorites, not yours.
I’ve included streaming links so you can watch without Netflix, though obviously I don’t host these and don’t sue me or whatever.
Cleo from 5 to 7 - Agnes Varda - Varda is a seminal ”feminist” film maker insofar as she’s one of the most respected film makers who approaches film with a female protagonist in mind always, and her films discuss The Gaze (which is the male gaze by default because patriarchy) and this one specifically is about negotiating the gazes and expectations thrust upon you, and the systematic rejection of it all. Vanity & the labor of presentation are key parts to this movie and it’s also really good if you’re sappy like I am. I am the biggest sap. Sad, sassy sappy girl, that’s me.
Stella Dallas - King Vidor - Mothers in film tend to fall into 3 categories: the good witch, the bad witch, the sacrificial lamb.. something like that, I haven’t read film theory in awhile. But basically, you’re either a virginal goddess kind of mom with no goals of your own and kind of sexless and do everything for your kids, you’re a terrible selfish person driven by your own shit with no care for your children or obligations, or you sacrifice everything to everyone else and die. Or something. This film, it is so painful because Stella is such a GOOD MOM who sacrifices, but is deemed a Bad Witch kind of lady, and deals with it because LOVE. Stella is just such a magnificent, complex character you can’t help but appreciate. And the dudes in the film are whatever. SUCH good subtle acting and character development and it’s just so powerful. The ending. Is SO powerful. Gross, I’m having emotions.
Happy Together - Wong Kar Wai - Wong Kar Wai is my favorite film director at the moment, I am way into his trilogy on longing & the cinematography of his films and especially his casting (<3__<3). Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung are such supreme, heartbreaking babes, this film will totally break your heart especially if you read up on Leslie’s life. This isn’t my favorite WKW film but it fits this list quite well. See also: Farewell My Concubine (Leslie’s the lead). Warning: FMC will shit on your heart. FMC touches on androgyny, gender struggles and heartbreak and Happy Together is about homosexuality and heartbreak. So much heartbreak! Good sad snuggle movies.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - Russ Meyer - Quentin Tarantino got lots of inspiration for Death Proof from this movie and Tura Santana is an actual #goddess incarnate in real life. She kicked so much ass though, you need to know her. Anyway, this movie contains babes racing fast cars, babes dancing, has SUCH obvious lesbian gaze / queer luv, girl gangs, girls killin dudes, and guys crying about the gross power they have over women and I make weird animal noises of longing through 100% of this movie because they are ALL INCREDIBLY HOT AND STUFF.
But I’m a Cheerleader! - Jamie Babbit - Satirical romantic comedies about correctional gay camp.Too real, especially cuz I had to go to church camp the year I came out to my mom! My first fashion editor boss recommended this to me before I even “”“came out / realized i was queer”“”” officially which is indicative of how fucking obviously queer I was to begin with. I live blogged it here.
watch this documentary for free from now until march 10th only! also, nfb has an entire page dedicated to canadian women in film including free films and essays.
“Feminism has shaped the society we live in. But just how far has it brought us, and how relevant is it today? This feature documentary zeroes in on key concerns such as violence against women, access to abortion, and universal childcare, asking how much progress we have truly made on these issues. Rich with archival material and startling contemporary stories, Status Quo? uncovers answers that are provocative and at times shocking.
i’m screening this in my living room tomorrow - if you’re in quebec city, be there.
Animator Evelyn Lambart in her studio in the 1950s. Working first alongside Norman McLaren, Lambart later developed her own unique animation style, often combining stop motion with paper cut-outs.