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Feminist Cinema of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Patricia L. Pecoy MLL 235. Major movements of this period. Birth of feminine and feminist cinema New genre – the political thriller – gradually relaced the conventional polars (crime movies)

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major movements of this period
Major movements of this period
  • Birth of feminine and feminist cinema
  • New genre – the political thriller – gradually relaced the conventional polars (crime movies)
  • Emergence of newcomers such as Bertrand Tavernier and Bertrand Blier who gave a fresh start to a new generation of young filmmakers
  • The ascension of humanist film directors such as François Truffaut, Eric Rohmer and Claude Sautet
  • Development of the erotic and pornograhic film industry
women s voices
Women’s Voices
  • Historically, women were always under someone else’s thumb
    • Traditionally considered “minors”
    • Under the authority of the father, then the husand
    • Arranged marriages (from age 12 on)
  • Limited to domestic and reproductive tasks
  • With the Revolution (1789), things began to change
the 18 th century
The 18th Century
  • Women hold salons
    • Thinkers and philosophers were invited to discussions of current interest; based on the freedom of expression
    • There were both literary and political salons
    • Ideas of the Age of Enlightenment were discussed
  • Still, the active participation of women was limited; they served merely as the hostess
women s march on versailles october 5 1789
Women’s March on VersaillesOctober 5, 1789

Following the events of July 1789, there was a bread shortage and people were starving

The women (and especially the women of the Halles) decided to go to Versailles to solicit the help of the king and queen

What they wanted was bread

With this act, women entered fully into the public sphere

olympe de gouges
Olympe de Gouges


Fought for women’s rights – rights she felt the Revolution had neglected

1791 – she writes the Declaration of the Rights of Women and of Female Citizens

The document is dedicated to the queen

Was the first document to propose equal legal rights for women

The declaration was never adopted by the National Assembly

olympe de gouges1
Olympe de Gouges

To be a feminist was rather dangerous during the French Revolution!

Olympe de Gouges died a victim of the guillotine in 1793

les tricoteuses the knitters
Les tricoteuses (The Knitters)

Women continued to participate in the events of the Revolution without being specifically invited to do so

They often sat with their knitting during meetings of political organizations politiques

mary wollenstonecraft
Mary Wollenstonecraft

English author

1792 – A Vindication of the rights of women

She claimed that women were not naturally inferior to men, but that it was the result of their education

progress of women
Progress of women

1790 – inheritance rights were revised so that all children had the same rights, not just the oldest male son

1792 – Divorce by mutual consent was recognized by the law

1793 – Universal suffrage for men; but women continued to be excluded from voting privileges

balance sheet of the revolution
Balance Sheet of the Revolution

During the Revolution, women make progress in the civil domaine, but not the political

Equality in the rights of inheritance

Abolition of the privilege of masculinity

The Revolution delivered young girls from the bondage of their parents

However, they were still excluded from voting


The Civil Code of Napoleon institutionalized the inferiority of women

Everything they had won under the Revolution was lost under Napoleon

napol on

Women were subjected to the authority of their father or husband

Nonetheless, they retained total equality with respect to taxation and imprisonment

women of the 19 th century
Women of the 19th Century

In the bourgeois society of the 19th century, women continued to be victims of sexual discrimination

She was the “good mother of the family” – the glue that held the family together

Her husband retained all the economic and political power and authority

some progress
Some Progress

1832 – rape becomes a crime (even if it is the father or the husband who commits it)

1838 – first Ecole normale d’institutrices (teacher training school) is opened

1880 – the Sée law inaugurates secondary public education for girls

1890 – the newspaper La Voix des femmes (Women’s Voices) is founded by Eugénie Niboyet

still no progress in the political sphere
Still no progress in the political sphere

The name of Georges Sand was proposed as a candidate for election (without her knowledge)

But the Second (1848) and Third (1875) Republics reaffirmed the withholding of political rights from women

post world war ii
Post World War II

1945 – Maternity leave was created

1945 – Equal pay for equal work

1975 – the Veil law

Legal abortion was recognized by the National Assembly

1975 – Law which provided penalties for discrimination against women based on gender

the manifest of the 343 salopes bitches
The Manifest of the 343 salopes(bitches)

The manifest of the 343 is a declaration which appeared in the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur on April 5, 1971

Signed by 343 women, they affirmed that they had undergone an abortion

They thus exposed themselves to the possibility of legal action and possibly imprisonment

the manifest of the 343 salopes bitches1
The Manifest of the 343 salopes(bitches)

The manifest begins with these statements :

« One million women have abortions each year in France.

They do it under the dangerous circumstances brought about by the need for secrecy to which they are condmened, whereas this operation, when performed in controled medical situations, is one of the most simple

Millions of women have been forced to remain silent.

I declare that I am one of them. I declare that I have had an abortion.

Just as we demand access to contraception, we also demand access to legal abortions

The manifest was signed by 343 women

the manifes of the 343 salopes bitches
The Manifes of the 343 salopes (bitches)

This manifest in favor of abortion also contributed to advancing the debate in favor of women’s free access to means of contraception

feminist thinkers of the 20 th century
Feminist Thinkers of the 20th century

Simone de Beauvoir

She declared that one was not born a woman, one became a woman

A woman is a social construction

women in cinema
Women in cinema

The question of a language or a vision that is exclusively feminine is posed

For these women, political and social emancipation must by its very nature pass through the constitution of a language that is authentically feminine

the status of women
The Status of Women

The majority of male thinkers of the left defined the emancipation of women uniquely in economic terms

Godard, for example, refused to take into account the cultural specificity of women’s work in certain situations, for example, that of the mother of a family

two tendancies in the cinema
Two tendancies in the cinema

The social condition of women

The way of looking at things that women bring to the world and to art

chantal akerman
Chantal Akerman

Film: Jeanne Dielman 23 Quai du Commerce (1976)

She shows how a woman can emancipate herself from domestic slavery

In her films, she gives primordial importance to autobiography which leans towards the intimate or the personal

coline serreau mais qu est ce qu elles veulent 1971 but what do women want
ColineSerreau: Maisqu’est-cequ’ellesveulent? (1971) (But What Do Women Want?)


Series of interviews

She gave women a voice and she offered to the public a new vision of their hopes and desires in contemporary society

feminine cinema in the 80s
Feminine cinema in the 80s

Marks a considerable advance towards the emancipation of women in general and in political life

This cinema is characterized by the specificity of its themes (the story of women) and its formal investigations of the feminine vision

agn s varda
  • Born May 30, 1928
  • Member of the Rive Gauche movement (along with Resnais, Duras, Robbe-Grillet)
  • Group strongly tied to the nouveau roman (new novel) movement
  • Was politically positioned on the Left
  • Was married to film director Jacques Demy
agn s varda sans toit ni loi vagabond 1985
AgnèsVardaSans toit, niloi(Vagabond, 1985)
  • Mixed theatrical and documentary styles
  • Story of a young woman, drifter
  • Story of a woman told from a woman’s point of view