Linda Stirling Unmasked: The Black Whip

: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.




Anna Biller

In light of an on going discussions with Anna Biller re: Viva, I have written a second review to reflect the exchange of ideas that have come to the fore.

The sexual revolution is the popularized phrase that denotes the emergence of women in the more wildly referenced women s liberation movement.
Viva as in (Viva the revolution) is an attempt to elicit popular viewing for the fundamental change that the women’s movement has brought to such vital areas as child birth, the assumed absentee super man father/husband, the end of the biological shackles of women to their husband’s/boyfriends( and to society due to the lack of readily available birth control and the illegality of abortion.

While capitalism( doctors and insurance industry) still keeps woman from their vital conscious promulgation of the specifies with their insistence on an exorbitant and life threatening cesarean birth to unsuspecting women and the unnatural view of “the breast” that encourages high school girls in disproportionate numbers to request and be given boob jobs upon graduation, ,there continues to be a moving forward towards a reasonable equality between men and woman and a fulfillment of the woman’s rightful place in society.

Women are reclaiming their bodies with home births done with hot tub, in living rooms or bedrooms with the midwife and most importantly the husband/man in attendance. And with the separation of the childcare from the maternity leave, men came into their own as care givers even to their infant child. The “stay at home dad’ is not uncommon.

What has not changed in this country is the prorogations of the Bra and the biological result of the curtailment of the breast in unnatural captivity compromising the muscular structure that supports the breast and the natural flow of blood through this organ. While the Barbi doll with her boobs and ultra thin body put the breast into conscious understanding of the female body, it gave a distorted view of this vital body part.

To bring this change of awareness to the fore,
Anna Biller films her own breast on screen in seemingly endless and uncomfortable duration that is in complete contrast to what main stream films display except during sexually driven moments.

If Anna Biller is setting a trend away from the Bra, the precursor of cancer, this is a good thing, though I personally found it difficult to endure. But I liked the natural bodies she used to show that filmed actors need not be limited to thin, well proportioned and heavily worked on bodies.

The additional strength of this film is in the use of color and scenery that electrifies the screen. This is clearly the result of the freedom of child rearing Anna enjoyed due to the Women’s Liberation and the freedom that parents and children all enjoyed as a consequence of the women's ability to choice when and if she would be a mother.

The problem with the film is not the wealth of material presented, nor the unavoidable understanding that Anna is herself a product of the love and respect and enjoyment made obvious with her parent's inclusion in the film, But the superficiality of the characters and the frivolous nature of the film while only surface deep is such a distractions from the essence of the subject that I found it difficult to sit through the film once, and the second time was not any easier.

Viva is a statement, an important one, but it is not a plot driven film that we are used to paying money to see.

Women’s liberation clothed in mini skirts and nudity does not do it for me. But maybe for the young who need to know life before the legal victory of Linda Zises et al VS. The City of New York, the legalization of abortion and the availability of birth control, this film is a profound jumping off point for fruitful discussion

Linda Z(ises)
WBAI Women’s Collective

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