Re: New book on Women's Experimental Cinema

From: William Wees, Dr. (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Oct 17 2007 - 14:48:37 PDT

It's great that Robin Blaetz's anthology of essays on women experimental filmmakers has received a strong endorsement from Chuck and positive responses from several other Frameworkers. But I don't recall there being a similar expression of interest a year or so ago when "Women and Experimental Filmmaking," edited by Jean Petrolle and Virginia Wring Wexman, appeared. Although there is some slight overlap between the two books, the filmmakers covered and the approaches taken are sufficiently different to make both books required reading (and potential course textbooks)for anyone interested in women's contributions to experimental/avant-garde film. (Full disclosure: I contributed essays to both volumes.)

The Petrolle and Wexman collection was pubished by the University of Illionios Press. I don't know the price, but the ISBN numbers are 0-252-03006-0 for the hard-bound edition, and 0-252-07251-0 for the paperback.

--Bill Wees

William C. Wees, Editor
McGill University
 853 Sherbrooke St. West--ArtsW225
Montreal, QC H3A 2T6
514-398-4935 (telephone) 514-398-7247 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Experimental Film Discussion List on behalf of Chuck Kleinhans
Sent: Fri 10/12/2007 7:49 PM
To: email suppressed
Subject: New book on Women's Experimental Cinema
Women's Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks
Robin Blaetz

432 pages (September 2007)
62 illustrations

Paperback - $25.95

[ISBN13 978-0-8223-4044-7]
Women's Experimental Cinema provides lively introductions to the work
of fifteen avant-garde women filmmakers, some of whom worked as early
as the 1950s and many of whom are still working today. In each essay
in this collection, a leading film scholar considers a single
filmmaker, supplying biographical information, analyzing various
influences on her work, examining the development of her corpus, and
interpreting a significant number of individual films. The essays
rescue the work of critically neglected but influential women
filmmakers for teaching, further study, and, hopefully, restoration
and preservation. Just as importantly, they enrich the understanding
of feminism in cinema and expand the terrain of film history,
particularly the history of the American avant-garde.

The contributors examine the work of Marie Menken, Joyce Wieland,
Gunvor Nelson, Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Barbara Rubin, Amy
Greenfield, Barbara Hammer, Chick Strand, Marjorie Keller, Leslie
Thornton, Abigail Child, Peggy Ahwesh, Su Friedrich, and Cheryl
Dunye. The essays highlight the diversity in these filmmakers' forms
and methods, covering topics such as how Menken used film as a way to
rethink the transition from abstract expressionism to Pop Art in the
1950s and 1960s, how Rubin both objectified the body and investigated
the filmic apparatus that enabled that objectification in her film
Christmas on Earth (1963), and how Dunye uses film to explore her own
identity as a black lesbian artist. At the same time, the essays
reveal commonalities, including a tendency toward documentary rather
than fiction and a commitment to nonhierarchical, collaborative
production practices. The volume's final essay focuses explicitly on
teaching women's experimental films, addressing logistical concerns
(how to acquire the films and secure proper viewing spaces) and
extending the range of the book by suggesting alternative films for
classroom use.

Contributors. Paul Arthur, Robin Blaetz, Noël Carroll, Janet Cutler,
Mary Ann Doane, Robert A. Haller, Chris Holmlund, Chuck Kleinhans,
Scott MacDonald, Kathleen McHugh, Ara Osterweil, Maria Pramaggiore,
Melissa Ragona, Kathryn Ramey, M. M. Serra, Maureen Turim, William C.

"Women's Experimental Cinema is an invaluable resource for students
and devotees of experimental cinema and feminist film, fields defined
by remarkable films and a dearth of critical attention. It brings to
light the social and political roots and cultural impact of women's
experimental film, and the specific female, feminine, and feminist
practices of an exceptional group of women artists."-Alexandra
Juhasz, editor of Women of Vision: Histories in Feminist Film and Video

"This definitive volume on U.S. women's experimental cinema fills a
significant and long-lamented gap within film studies, and in
feminist film studies in particular. Together, these essays offer us
a richly nuanced picture not only of women's experimental film but of
avant-garde filmmaking in general from the 1940s to the present."-
Sharon Willis, author of High Contrast: Race and Gender in
Contemporary Hollywood Film

Robin Blaetz is Associate Professor and Chair of the Film Studies
Program at Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of Visions of the
Maid: Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture.

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Women's Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks /
Robin Blaetz 1
Swing and Sway: Marie Menken's Filmic Events / Melissa Ragona 20
Different/Same/Both/Neither: The Polycentric Cinema of Joyce
Wieland / Paul Arthur 45
Evacuating Visual Fields, Layering Auditory Frames: Signature,
Translation, Resonance, and Gunvor Nelson's Films / Chris Holmlund 67
Moving and Moving: From Minimalism to Lives of Performers / Noel
Carroll 89
Eye/Body: The Cinematic Paintings of Carolee Schneemann / M.M. Serra
and Kathryn Ramey 103
"Absently Enchanted": The Apocryphal, Ecstatic Cinema of Barbara
Rubin / Ara Osterweil 127
Amy Greenfield: Film, Dynamic Movement, and Transformation / Robert
A. Haller 152
Barbara Hammer: Lyrics and History / Chuck Kleinhans 167
Chick Strand's Experimental Ethnography / Maria Pramaggiore 188
Amnesis Time: The Films of Marjorie Keller / Robin Blaetz 211
In the Ruins of the Image: The Work of Leslie Thornton / Mary Ann
Doane 239
Sounds, Intervals, and Startling Images in the Films of Abigail
Child / Maureen Turim 263
Peggy's Playhouse: Contesting the Modernist Paradigm / William C.
Wees 290
Su Friedrich: Breaking the Rules / Janet Cutler 312
The Experimental "Dunyementary": A Cinematic Signature Effect /
Kathleen McHugh 339
Women's Experimental Cinema: Some Pedgogical Challenges / Scott
Macdonald 360
Appendix: Film Distribution 383
Bibliography 385
Contributors 401
Index 405


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.