Re: who's entitled?

From: Ed Halter (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jan 25 2008 - 13:11:23 PST

> From: Nicky Hamlyn <email suppressed>
> Reply-To: Experimental Film Discussion List <email suppressed>
> Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 19:44:35 +0000
> To: <email suppressed>
> Subject: Re: who's entitled?
> Would it seem odd if a Japanese book about Japanese (plus one or
> two Korean or Chinese) women filmmakers called "Women Experimental
> Film Makers" were published?

Actually, no. If it were called The Complete and Total History of Women
Experimental Filmmaking on Earth and it only included Japanese filmmakers,
then I think you'd have a case on you hands. But I would hope that nobody
reading it is dull enough to assume that a title like Women Experimental
Filmmakers contains such a claim.

Another example: Lux: A Decade of Artists' Film and Video and The Sharpest
Point: Animation at the End of Cinema are two collections published by YYZ
Books, a Canadian publisher. In both cases, the filmmakers discussed are
largely Canadian, though not exclusively. I haven't tallied numbers, but I
would bet they are probably majority Canadian. these books
dangerously distort reality by implying, through their insidiously hegemonic
titles, that the majority of notable artists' films and videos and
contemporary animation are Canadian? So far, nobody I know has been rash
enough to accuse these books of this crime.

I could understand your argument if, in the introduction to the book, the
editors explained their rationale for who and what they decided to write
about, and in doing so exhibited deeply parochial attitudes about the work,
etc--if that were the case, a critique would surely be in order. But
ultimately, you are basing this whole conversation about the TITLE of the
book, and nothing more, and you assume an extremely ill-informed reader.

In fact, why don't I quote from Blaetz's introduction? It's about some
someone did, if only for the public record.

Page 7:

"Most of the filmmakers [in this collection] are American, and all either
worked in the United States or are involved in contemporary political or
aesthetic concerns familiar to US scholars...Although there are many
international women filmmakers, past and present, whose work deserves
recognition, this anthology's national focus seeks to rectify the commonly
held notion that the American avant-garde was exclusively male."

One assumes, unfortunately, that a title along the lines of

    Women's Experimental Cinema:
    A collection of essays,
    being an argument regarding the exclusion of women
    from the canon of the American avant-garde film,
    proposing certain examples that may work toward
    ameliorating this situation,
    though in doing so,
    citing filmmakers exclusively from within the North American tradition,
    which in no way should marginalize or otherwise denigrate
    the existence of other women filmmakers worldwide,
    past, present or in perpetuity

Was not the type of thing her publishers would go for, despite its admirable

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