AGORA
: 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.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

6/29/08

Very Young Girls Movie Review: Sex, Class and Ho Daddies

The criminalization of sexually abused and exploited ghetto girls in scathing documentary.

CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE

6/28/08

Sex and the City

Sex in the City is not just for women It for women and men who have a sense of humor and are not afraid to let this emotion triumph even in these dismal, almost terrifying times of economic, political and military unrest.

The unrealistic plot, the flamboyant customs, the ultra high heels that destroy the legs they are designed to show off to their best advantage and the frivolous nature of the interaction of these famous women known to many from their half hour television program of the same name, is worth seeing but only if you take with you a sense of the absurd and the understanding that no one knows better than the creators of this film that what they are seeking and what you are buying is pure fun.

Why not laugh and enjoy this two hour film? I say see it, smile, and then walk home how ever far that might be. That’s the best recipe I can offer to savor the moment precious fun filled experience of Sex in the City without having to contend with another hike in the price of gas, or bread.


Linda Zises
WBAI Women’s Collective
rottentomatoes:vine
witches brew

6/26/08

Lou Reed's Berlin: Director: Julian Schnabel

Synopsis: Over 30 years after the release of Lou Reed's Rock Opera, BERLIN,Julian Schnabel (THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY), took the album to the stage. This film reproduces the concent held at the St. Anna's Warehouse in Brooklyn News York.

Commentary:
Berlin chronicles the love story of desolate lives in divided Berlin where the wall, similar to the Wall now being built by the United
States and Isreal to protect their boundaries, informs on the human cost of construction as reflected in
the emotional wealth that Lou Reed brings to his work

Lou Reed's music is as true today as it was those thirty or so years ago. We heard it with the Blues Project, with Bobby Dylan and the famous visual artist Andy Warhole, who screemed out his difference with the world around him as Lou Reed screams out his music to the listening audience.

In the past we screamed and our screaming, singing and hard work at organizing paid off. Unfortunately today, we are too quiet. The institutionalized world of brutal control has silenced all but a fews of us.

Listen to the sound of Lou Reed and hear the wails the cries, the tears and the underlying feeling that in spite of the trajedy we all experience, makes us feel confident we will prevail.

This production feataures the old and the young alike. It is good be part of and to remember and hear the sound of inspiration being played loudly without distractions of back room scenes and pesonal dialogues with the performers



Performers: Antony, Sharon Jones, and Emmanuelle Seigner (as Caroline, the tale's tragic heroine)


Starring: Lou Reed, Antony, Sharon Jones, Emmanuelle Seigner

Director: Julian Schnabel
Producer: Jon Kilik, Tom Sarig
Composer: Lou Reed


See this documentary/concert. Take a friend, children or go it alone and enjoy the vibration, the electrifying experience of feeling aliv,e invigorated again.


Linda Z
WBAI Womens' Collective
and
Rotten Tomatoes
Vine: Witches Brew

6/22/08

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
2008
Director: Katrina Browne
The Film Class
2006/DVD 2008
Director: Uri Rosenwaks

by Nancy Keefe Rhodes

Of all the ways these two documentary films overlap and echo one another – both deal with women who film their investigations of ancestral involvement in the global slave trade – the most visceral is the mo­ment that each captures on film of the physical recoil against step­ping into the still-preserved underground dungeons where slaves were held before ship­ping.

Katrina Browne’s Traces of the Trade reports there were 70 “slave forts” on the West African coast between 1769 and 1820 (when the De­Wolfe family business was at its height). In the summer of 2001, Browne led a film crew and nine other DeWolfe descen­dants to two of them – Cape Coast and Elmina – in Ghana. Browne is an Episcopal minister raised in Philadelphia who lived in Berkeley, California when she began this project eight years ago. Her Ghanaian trip was the second leg of a three-week journey starting in Bristol, Rhode Island – the historic DeWolfe family seat, where their mansion Linden Hall is now a museum and descendants often return for the July 4th parade – and proceeded to Cuba, where the DeWolfes owned five sugar plantations that used slave labor and sup­plied their rum distilleries well after the end of the US Civil War.

On the other side of the African continent, at Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar off Tanzania, Israeli film­maker Uri Rosenwaks led his filmmaking class – five “Black Bedouin” women from the town of Rahat in the Negev Desert – on a similar pilgrimage in 2005. In south­ern Israel’s Negev Desert, the Rahat Black Bedouins descend from Africans kidnapped by Arab slavers during the same period but taken east.

The mirroring that occurs within each film and between the two films is frequent. In a stroke of cinematic good fortune, Katrina Browne herself carries the same DeWolfe profile that echoes in every family portrait her film puts on-screen, making somberly visible the legacy she experiences so sharply. The DeWolfe family’s return to Ghana coincided with a massive gathering that aimed to ritually cleanse the area of its slaving past; during one moment when Browne watches a procession of hereditary tribal leaders, she wonders if her ancestors and theirs “did business.” That family business was the largest single slaving enterprise in US history, an elaborate “triangle trade route” involv­ing almost 50 ships, their own bank and distilleries, the Ghana­ian and Cuban sites, a Charleston slave auction house and connections in 40 other US cities.

On both African coasts, the holding dungeons that remain are bleak gray stone affairs, squat, dank, thick-walled and half-under­ground, made for holding hun­dreds of naked human beings in almost unbelievably tight, dark spaces. And in each place – despite the distance traveled, which has required considerable commitment and overcoming – the visitors must will themselves over the threshold.

Besides celebrating June­teenth (the date when Texas slaves belatedly got word of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation) with events all month – the opening recep­tion for Declaration of Independence-signer descendent Brantley Carroll’s photo exhibit, The Whipping Post, a book-sign­ing at Barnes and Noble and related guest talks – Syracuse’s Community Folk Art Center is also observing the second centennial of the abolition of the slave trade in 1808. They’ll screen both Traces of the Trade and The Film Class twice this month, on the 18th and 26th, as a double bill – just over two hours combined total viewing time – an inspired change of plans from a single screening of each film on separate dates, so viewers can experience the ways each reflects and deepens the other. Mindful of the symbolism of anniversaries, Katrina Brown premiered her film at Sundance on January 12th of this year, Martin Luther King’s birthday. On June 24th, Traces of the Trade airs nationally on PBS, kicking off the new season of the docu­mentary series, “P.O.V.” So Syracuse gets this film earlier than the rest of the country.

Led by Katrina, the ten DeWolfe descendants use their journey to address questions of forgiveness, self-indulgence, whether reparations mean pro­cess or payment, the distinc­tions between guilt and grief, and the need to follow-up with action in the world once they got home. While some DeWolfes went other routes – supporting reparation lawsuits, for example – Browne took her action to the Episcopal Church’s national gathering, successfully shepherding official church recognition of slaving and current racism and laying groundwork for first steps to respond.

Browne’s project began when her grandmother sent her a small booklet on the family’s history that acknowledged the true foun­dation of their wealth and social position. In Rosenwaks’ film class – a small project to teach new skills and community involvement to African Bedouin women begun by the Step Forward NGO in a remote, impoverished Israeli city – the process also began with grandmothers when he asked his students what they knew their family history.

Whereas the DeWolfes’ unspoken rule was “never to mention politics, religion or the Ne­groes,” the Rahat women found they knew next to nothing about their family histories or how they came to reside, largely despised, in the Negev Desert. No less profoundly that the DeWolfes, the Rahat women return from their African trip to confront their mayor, in a filmed interview, about racism toward the Black Bedouin community within his city.

The Film Class includes that encounter, preceded by footage of the role-playing the women engaged in to prepare for interviewing a practiced politician and his nervous aides, and followed by their reactions afterward when the whole class gathers to watch how the interview went – comically in one spot, since one of the film’s producers, playing the mayor, offered an evasive answer in the rehearsal that predicted, almost word for word, what the real mayor then said. So we get to watch these women’s surprised delight when they watch footage of that exchange. In its own way, this sequence expresses the same profound and universal power of cinema that Katrina Browne is aiming for. Schooled in Aristotle’s theory of drama and catharsis making better citizens, Browne - who has experience with a number of projects using film for community outreach - reasoned simply, “These days, people go to the movies.”

*******
This review appeared in the 6/12/2008 issue of the Syracuse City Eagle weekly in “Make it Snappy,” a regular column reviewing DVDs of recent movies that have not enjoyed a theatrical opening in Central New York & older films of enduring worth. Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North premieres nationally on PBS as the season opener for the documentary series P.O.V. on Tuesday, June 24 at 10 p.m., after which the DVD is available on-line from PBS. The Film Class is available on DVD now from ruthfilms.com.

6/20/08

The Last Mistress

Catherine Breillat

(french with english subtitles)

Cast:

:La Vellini (Asia Argento)
Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Ait Aattou)
Hermangarde ( Roxane Mesquida)

PLOT:
The age-old battle of the sexes is once again brought to the screen in this film about two woman(rivals) and a man who can not escape the shackles of a mistress La Vellini, whose power over men triumphs over common sense of intellegual/economic desires. Based on Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly's 19th Century novel.

COMMENTARY:
Cold , detached, empty
too many extended silences
too many moments of vacuous eyes, staring into an invisible camera
too little tension
too much that is bad
rather than good, loving, credible
too many cliches
too much exposed of La Vellini's perfectly formed full bosom and too long a shot of Hermangarde's perfectly formed midriff (like a piece of fine sculpture) . But haven't we seen all that before?

This film lacks energy
conflict, tension
It lack compelling
emotion that goes forward and takes us with it or gets deeper and deeper into an original plot. There is no original plot, not for those who saw Valmont (Dangerous Liaisons) or Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary

What is the point of "The Last Mistress"?

When the bodies disengage what is left?

No off spring to cherish, to continue the vacuous life portrayed, There are no ideas or scenes to be remembered.

Pleasurable to a point, but that point was just like the love between husband and wife, lost in the progression of an ordinary life even amid the flamboyance in dress and surroundings of the very wealthy.

The costumes are beautiful, the recreation of opulence with the wealth of color, texture, decor is awesome. But there wasn't enough substance, even with the a ten year love affair (replete with child born, died. the couple , consumed by death, agony) because we don't really feel. It doesn't seem genuine to the viewer and it wasn't real enough to help unite the couple.......or so it seems while Ryno de Marigny gives his version of the past events that inform on his present life.

This is a classic case when telling is not enough. Show us the action, the passion, the moment and then we can known and belief and feel as we hope to do when we go to see a film, particularly a French one..

All that great costume and decor for naught



Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
and
Rotten Tomatoes :Witches Brew

6/19/08

The Exiles (1961) Kent Mackenzie

Kent Mackenzie
writer, producer, director

presented by
Sherman Alexie and Charles Burnett

There are certain films that speak to all of us well after they have been seen, long after those who originally viewed and appreciated their superior qualities have passed on.

The Exiles is just such a film. First released at the in 1961 in black and white, you aren't even aware of the limitations the lack of color might afford because the black and white shots are so vibrant that one fears color might mute what should not be compromised.

Plot:

The Exiles recaptures the lives of young American Indians who have left their Southwest reservations to create a new life in Los Angeles California. The story unfolds through an all night extravaganza as we follow this group of friends to their favorite bars, the filthy card game hangout and finally outside, in the wee small hours of the morning. the sun coming up, where these friends try to recreate their roots in song and dance on Bunker Hill


Commentary:

Kent Mackenzie, writer, producer, director unfortunately died young, however his work is touted as one of the pioneer efforts to create a documentary that brings to the public eye what they would otherwise never see: The Exiled American Indian who is still searching for their rightful place both historically, and physically in this hostile environment where difference is marginalized and people are encouraged to give up what is unique to become one of the crowd. But to their credit, the American Indian survives. He remains close to the earth in name i.e. Sunrise or Surefoot are two listed in the credits. I love these names. They bring back the reality that we are not high in the sky but rather close to the earth, to nature in spite of the ever higher heights of the sky scrapers and the plethora of cement that covers the precious soil that is the Nature's gift to humanity,

The Exiles does not forget about women and how they fare in this move off of the Reservation. It vividly captures the lonely and often courageous existence that informs on the life the Native American woman who choices to go beyond the limitations Reservation offers in the hope of finding a new, a better life for her children. Even if she has to live alone, without help, she prefers the difficulties of a life in Los Angeles to the life with her people still living in captivity.

This documentary is beauty because of its author and co-wrokers' love of their work and their subject. They were not afraid to become one with those they did not know before they recreated the poignant story of young adults trying to live in an alien world.

Do see this film and remember the past, the way films used to be shot and the American Indian whose land we stole and still claim as our own


Linda Z
WBAI Women Collective
RT (Witches Brew)

Exiles
to Premiere at
New York's IFC Center
July 11th, 2008

6/17/08

June 2008 top five films (for men only?)

There is a disproportionate number of horror films being serve up to the willing public this June

BOX OFFICE DOMINATION LIST (taken from Web Site: Rotton Tomatoes)
66% The Incredible Hulk $55.4M
87% Kung Fu Panda $33.6M
21% The Happening $30.5M
34% You Don't Mess with the Zohan $16.4M
77% Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $14.7



Film often reflects what is not covered in the News, The documentaries bring us current events or past events worth contemplating today. Fantasy films that rise to the top reflect the emotional state, the private emotional lives that beg to be addressed.

Film is a healing source, a pleasurable one, done to a public, to be enjoyed privately

With that in mind, this trend towards horror films, is alarming. I have not personally seen any of them and hope that I continue to successfully avoid this experience of adult viewing however the trend, not the quality of production is what concerns me.

These films serve the same function as "rides' at Coney Island or disney world or whatever "amusement park' is in your vicinity.

The rides are precursors of emotional experiences yet to happen or a reflection on the emotional experience that is currently dominate in your life. Specifically fear.

We are living in a time of free floating anxiety stimulated by the radical change in weather that is uprooting the lives and domiciles of formerly secured abodes and ways of life. And the perpetual War without cause or an invisible undefinable cause begging for limit by definition. the menacing "terrorist" is always on our minds. it is a War against an enigmatic enemy located not just in Iraq but throughout the world. And the remedy of Collective punishment prevails.We are all in the line of fire.

We are living in terrifying times and how to we continue to live as if we are on the same ordianry course of existance that has been know for year upon year and assumed to be ever lasting?

Children love to be afraid., They start with hide and seek and go on to the Rides, the Cyclone, the mini bumper cars. All these rides allow the terrifying experiences in life and our responsive fear to get experienced in a controlled setting.

Personally, I'd rather go on a ride then see the Hulk or the Panda attacked or the Happening.

But maybe that's because I'm a woman and these big men protrayed in all their glory never resonated with me. It's the real man I fear but i have spent a life time living with that fear. Have you?


This is an interactive blog.

your response is welcomed.

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
Rotten tomatoes: Witches Brew

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Roman Polanski will always be remembered for the excitement in his life, the tragedy with the murder of his first wife Sharon Tate and the law case brought against him for having sex with a minor.. it is the latter upon which this documentary is based.

Commentary:
Roman Polanski, writer, producer, actor, director of the most famous, most watched films of the century, rosemary's baby, repulsion,to name just a few. A giant in the film industry for whom one feels the ravages of the assault on his character by the law enforcement agencies. The disgust, the condemnation of an intellectual/artistic genius trickles down into the minds and gossip mongrels par excellent.

And where do we stand on this issue?

I find it interesting that the every woman I know, when asked, confesses to having experienced at least one sexual encounter with a man, often a step father, or uncle, while they were young children. And yet so very few men ever get exposed or punished. This humiliating experienced seeems to be reversed for the few who enjoy high name recognition.


For-instance Woody Allen, another giant in the film industry, who married his seemingly too young lover and adopted daughter. For Roman Polanski his sexual interaction with a minor, not a relative, is still an issue all these many years later.

Here we are watching his story unfold recaptured in the documentary that brings those times and those issues into clear view. Roman was so attractive, with such intense sexuality and charisma that I don't doubt for a moment he thought he had done nothing wrong by seducing this one more attractive and very available woman.

For this master of the chase after women (always more women to conquer) this legal battle is not the personification of his illness but of the sickness that reigns in our country.

Yes, it is the rare man who hasn’t sought a woman for her body, knowing full well that she would never be his sustained love relationship/interest in life. This is applauded in our society and yet the woman who gives into the man, who is overcome by his cunning, his effort to seduce is considered “undesirable”. The caveat of "what is her age" is a thin limit on the prowler rarely discovered but when it is. watch out. The wrath of God or more correctly the wrath of the sexual world of which we are all a part, lands upon the man. He is labeled a pedophiliac and sought after forever and ever.

How far have we come from this restrictive and prejudicial stance the double standard. As one watches the film is there a feeling of disgust for Roman Polanski or horror at how he is being treated or both?

I recommend everyone see this film, embrace our individual feelings about his alleged Pedophilia and the ills of our society. This is a chance to see life through the behavior of a not too hungry man but a man so separated from the humble pie we all eat that he couldn't have imagine the consequences of yet another conquest.

The victim was a thirteen year old girl physically going on twenty-one and where were her parents, her protective shields. Did they not know her maturity was a problem? Did they not work with her, give her the fundamental knowledge to adjust normally to her premature physical development?

This is not a defense of Roman Polanski. It is a review of the documentary now being shown.. But since the two seem so forcefully linked, the review of the production and the subject matter, my stance, my reaction to the subject becomes a testimony to the strength of the documentary.

A must see moment from the past that informs forcefully on the present.

See it, if you can.


Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT: Witches Brew

My Winipeg

My Winnipeg

Guy Maddin

What is outstanding about this 80 minute documary(docufantasia as Maddin
likes to call it, is the use of the English language. My Winnipeg is not
geared to youth, to children or those who had trouble making it out of high
school with diploma in hand.

It is English at its best, with words seldom heard in film, on television
and almost never encountered in books, with the exception of Joyce Carol
Oats who is a master of the English language.

Guy Maddin's voice is heard throughout the film, He is the commentator and the
self professed narrator and subject of the film. He is it!

Plot:

My Winnipeg is a story of a boy, Maddin, growing up in Winnipeg and still
living in the same City many years later. He wants to get out of the City,
to live elsewhere but in order to do that he has to go back into the past,
to remember and know what it is he wants to leave and to determine if
leaving is the right thing to do.

Commentary:

Maddin uses mystical rumination, personal history and unforgettable images
of his mother to brings his goodbye letter to fruition.

It feels as if the audience is going for a ride, maybe one of those Disney
rides that go through tunnels and exposes us to a different world than our own.

Winnipeg is strangely at odds with our way of life because of its extremely
cold weather but the underlying tragedy, the senseless destruction of buildings
filled with generations of memories and the importance of the working men and woman
is as tangible in Winnipeg as it is in the United States.

Ice Hockey being the pinnacle of this change. In the fight between the Capitalists' greed versus
elation from victory and the effort of striving for excellence in ice hockey, the winner was not
the old timers who Maddin shows with such love and atttention to their importance
In Winnipeg but to the demolision machines that care only about the new
and not the resultant damage that their acts of "moivng on" create in the lives
of the City's denizens.

Maddin's father was a vital part of Ice Hockey and so was Maddin. It is sad, tragic
that this Winnipeg Hockey Arena is gone and the way of family life enjoyed by many
is no more. In its stead is the Ice Hockey brought into the world arena, another sport
to be a source of Capital largess.

This important and enjoyable view of Winnipeg, of Maddin's family in his formative years
and an intimate acquaintance with Maddin's Mother and his relationship with her,
make this film well worth your time and money.

My Winnipeg is a film of extraordinary images worth savoring.


Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
Rotten Tomatoes: Witches Brew

6/13/08

THE VISITOR

Tom McCarthy


Plot:
Walter Vale (Richard Jerkins from the TV series Six Feet Under) is a white male College economics professor who lives alone in a comfortable middle class home in Connecticut. He is seeking to revitalize his life through learning the piano, an instrument that wife had championed before she died.

But Walter experiences this emotional rebirth not through the sound of her piano music but through his newly formed friendship with an immigrant couple from the Third World who are living illegally in his Manhattan apartment.

The male half of the couple, a Syrian conga drum player named Tarek, encourages Vale to take up the drums after he surprises Vale playing them one afternoon. The movie’s plot focused on the immigrant male’s incarceration in a New York detention center, located in Queens, where Tarek is placed due to a misunderstanding at the New York Transit turnstile where the police accuse him of violating the law “theft of service”.

Commentary:
The ultra punitive legal system put into place by the Clinton administration and tightened with the arrival of George Bush as President has not been as poignantly exposed to public scrutiny until the release of this film


Unfortunately, this depiction of our political /legal underpinning is only the tip of the iceberg. But nonetheless, the film’s statement of helplessness when faced with the law enforcement machinery imposed by those who want to protect us from “the terrorist” is brutal and unforgettable.

It is only one step away from how we might all be treated one day and that reality is hard to ignore while watching the almost comical fantasy story of how the white intellectual burnt out college professor becomes involved with a struggling immigrant couple and tries to save them with the lawyer hired and the pleas of “he didn’t do anything wrong ” falling on deaf ears.

This is a real life situation, a real prison without windows or yard for that mandatory time outside. This is the world where people disappear for no cause and the cruelty of the guard saying over and over again, “move away from the window” is torturous. This is the reality we might all have to deal with and we know it while the music plays to the sound of the drums beating. The fantasy of love and liking one another, wishing each other the best and trying to help out (all those beautiful thoughts), crumble when faced with the reality of the alienated man in an alienated world.

I did not cry during the film. I didn’t feel much of anything. But when it was over I felt the horror of the plot, the desperate fear that is a part of my personal make up, intensified. So this is what life will be like unless…………….

The Visitor must be seen, digested and remembered. Maybe the next President will take the initiative to ease these draconian laws, destroy these prisons and the attenuating corruption and bring back a semblance of humanity to this all too fragile country.


Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
and
RT: Witches Brew

6/7/08

Every Woman Here: Remnants of Seneca 1982-2006

By Nancy Keefe Rhodes

2007 - Documentary
Directors: Hershe Michele Kramer, Estelle Coleman for the Peace Encampment Herstory Project

“It’s so peace camp!” laughed Hershe Michele Kramer. “When we say something is ‘so peace camp,’ what we mean is, if you don’t know how to do something, that’s not a reason not to do it. You learn how. That’s what we learned there too. When we started recording these interviews in 2005, we used audio cassette tapes for the first three. Then we met Sarah Shulman from ACT-Up’s Video Project, who said, ‘You have to shoot this on video!’ We didn’t know how to shoot video. Actually, we’re still using the same borrowed video camera. It’s my brother’s.”

Estelle Coleman added, “That means we have to return it for birthdays and Christmas.”

Kramer and Coleman had stopped their day’s work for lunch early Sunday afternoon at the Women’s Information Center in the upstate New York city of Syracuse. Kramer lives on the Hudson River in Kingston and Coleman in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Traveling for the Peace Encampment Herstory Project, they’ve recorded over 80 interviews – 20 just last weekend in Syracuse– and plan to make a third DVD documentary about the Seneca Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, a 53-acre farm on Route 96 near Romulus, New York, first purchased in 1983 by women’s peace activists because it shared a boundary line with the Seneca Army Depot.

Saturday evening about 25 people gathered at Women’s Info to watch the previous two documentaries, Stronger Than Before – which aired on PBS – and Every Woman Here: Remnants of Seneca 1982-2006, completed last year. The latter is an absorbing 32-plus minutes comprising voice-overs from nine oral “herstories,” clips of 15 songs from Sorrel Hays and Marilyn Ries’ Peace Camp Sings (1980), three songs from Average Dyke Band, video and newspaper clips, and over 300 images from “dozens” of photographers.

Immediately inspired by the women’s anti-nuclear peace encampment and huge demonstrations the previous winter outside the US Air Force base at England’s Greenham Common, the Seneca women hoped a summer’s protest would halt the deployment of US first-strike nuclear weapons to Europe that fall. About 12,000 women massed that first summer at Seneca – where they believed the military secretly stored those nuclear weapons – and 950 of them got arrested during non-violent marches, political theater and planned breaches of the Depot’s perimeter fence. Men participated too – pediatrician/peace activist Benjamin Spock addressed one crowd fondly as “all my children” – but only women and kids could camp at the farm itself. Instead of folding after Labor Day, the camp lasted until 1992 and its descendant, Women’s Peaceland, until 2006.

Every Woman Here is eminently watchable. As a film, it's a good-looking short documentary with a strong visual narrative line and crisply disciplined editing. It also refreshes several crucial points. First, this was a vast, global movement, involving larger numbers than may fit current hazy recollections. Those who gathered at Seneca came from across the US and every continent. The Seneca women were also acutely aware of women’s history in upstate New York – the nearby Seneca Fall’s Women’s Rights Convention of 1848 and Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad, for example - even the long-ago gathering in 1580 of Iroquois women demanding that tribal warfare end (Onondaga Nation clan mother Audrey Shenandoah came in person to bless the peace camp’s opening). Just as an inspection of the list of alums from the Civil Rights’ era Highlander School reveals a who’s who of movement leaders, the current round of interviews – in Syracuse and other interview sites – reveals that ex-peace camp women have often continued their activist ways in their own communities long after they left Seneca.

Every Woman Here also documents vividly how peace camp worked in practice, women figuring out by consensus decision how to feed and shelter large numbers, build boardwalks across bumpy fields for wheelchairs, learn non-violence, manage childcare, paint murals on barns, nurture a growing spiritual dimension. Kramer says the interview project itself reflects those practices.

“Just as no one was supposed to speak for anyone else at the camp,” she went on, “this project isn’t done until every woman tells her story. So the internet archive is perfect – it can expand too. And we feel some urgency now because peace camp women are getting older.”

What’s next? The first week-end in August the two women visit Ithaca, home of Cornell University. Then, said Kramer, “Seattle. A trip south to Georgia and Florida. Vermont and Maine. We’ve got our eyes on some women in those spots who’d like to tell their stories.”

*******
On June 7th the Syracuse daily paper, The Post-Standard, reported that the US Army will again use the Seneca Army Depot to train troops stationed at near-by Fort Drum and National Guard from around the country. This review appeared in the 6/5/2008 issue of the Syracuse City Eagle weekly in “Make it Snappy,” a regular column reviewing DVDs of recent movies that did not enjoy a theatrical release in Central New York and older films of enduring worth. Visit the Peace Encampment Herstory Project’s website at peacecampherstory.blogspot.com.

6/6/08

The Year of the Fish:

The Year of The Fish: A lost generation captured, devoured, preserved

David Kaplan
Director, Editor, Writer

Plot: A Cinderella story set in New York City's Chinatown, Year of the Fish is a classic tale retold through the eyes of a young woman struggling to find a new life in the United States.

With many films it isn’t clear where the inspiration for the film came from But with The Year of the Fish, the subject is so disturbing that we know where the need to make this film originates. It is the uncomfortable reality of a part of New York City where the Chinese live their lives so separate from the Americans that it is uncomfortable to walk the streets, partake of their food, their services while subliminally aware of how different they are from us, their American customers.

David Kaplan responds to this tangible experience by mixing up fantasy and reality and doing it not just with content but by his method of interspersing cartoon figures and scenes with the real , the familiar scenes and real actors.

The identifiable image of the Fish,( and it was just the Chinese year of the Fish), reflected in the visual look of the people’s faces is clever but somewhat distracting. It seems that David Kaplan’s intent is to use the Cinderella tale to tell us all that we are fish swimming in a fish tank that we are outgrowing (because of our obesity) and soon we will be swimming in an ocean, a captive humanity waiting to be devoured and rescued, our cleaned bones to be placed in some God awful museum for preservation of a lost species or worse, to be grind down into tiny particles released into an all ready overcrowded atmosphere.

The over riding technique of this film, the juxtaposing of cartoon figures with real live people and scenes doesn’t encourage the emotional impact the film might otherwise have. This is a very serious, scary film when one contemplates the world according to David Kaplan’s recreation of today and of tomorrow, if there is one.


I recommend this film because it is unique, and because it has something important to say even though the actors, the characters are one dimensional good and bad and Cinderella is a fantasy I never truly embraced. For women Cinderella in rags or richness is not someone I aspire to be. But it is the fantasy image of the preservation of life into the future very much at odds with what David Kaplan offers when he and we look to the Fish to find what the future will bring.


Opening Labor Day Weekend, August 29, 2008 at the
Angelika Film Center in New York City

Linda Z
WBAI Women’s Collective

6/1/08

Stalags: A Documentary

Written & Directed by Ari Libsker

Stalags is named for the German prison camps in which they were set, the "stalags" were soft-core s&m porn in which downed U.S. or British pilots were abused by lustful, bodacious "female SS brutes," ultimately repaying their tormentors in kind.

There is a great deal to be said about War, and Sex and S&M, even in this country of the free and the beautiful but I want to focus attention on the artistic nature of this documentary.


Kara Walker caused an overwhelming artistic success with her work My complement, My enemy, My oppressor. My Love which took up the space of an entire floor of the Whitney Museum last October.

It was an artist rendering through silhouette type figures of explicit sexual acts that occurred throughout the South before Slavery was abolished.

The emotional impact seemed to be heightened by the black and white artist work rather than diminished because it was not true to life human forms.

The documentary Statags, shows the art work of a a Jewish woman who scandalized the religious and political isreal/jewish community in the 1960’s. she used the same silhoutte method to depict violence done to women. This is not to say, either Kara Walker or Rachel Frank’s work is less than magnificent as much as to point out the past neglect of women’s art because women do not live in the same world experientially as their male counterpart. And it is the men who determine whose art is brought to the fore and whose art stays in the “Funeral Home’ of one’s personal space.,

It is not true(as stated in the documentary) that men have taken up where Rachel Frank left off. Kara Walker has, without mentioning Rachel Frank by name. She has, taken up the mantel of showing the women’s explicit sexual physical and psychological world.

While seeing this documentary one cannot help but be impressed with how different the world is for woman than for men.

Another example of pain in art is that of Freda Kalo who seemed physically and visibly linked to her husband Diego Rivera, as she watched him be the famous, the renowned artist while she quietly conveyed through art the incredibly painful world in which she lived.

It is difficult to separate out the rejection of these women’s artist achievements because Sex and women seem to be so entwined that the explicitness of the sexual images seem to dictate the public reaction to the work. Take this review from the New York Times on Kara Walker.


Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
on view October 11, 2007-February 3, 2008

"Ms. Walker's style is magnetic...Brilliant is the word for it, and the brilliance grows over the survey's decade-plus span. And then there is the theme: race. It dominates everything, yet within it Ms. Walker finds a chaos of contradictory ideas and emotions." - The New York Times


The word Sex is not used and yet it is the explicit sexual images that stay with me even now, well after the exhibit has left the Whitney Museum The same is true in this documentary, it is the sexual images that you will never forget.


I recommend Stalags for its beautiful artistic images and for its statement on art and sex from a women’s perceptive. and to applaud Ari Libsker, a man, for bringing the details of this post war scandal into the light o four every day knowledge.



Linda Z
WBAI Women’s Collective
DVD

ISRAEL • 2007 • 63 MINUTES • IN HEBREW WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES