A Year With Women: October 2015 in Films
I had intended to spend most of October watching horror films by women (and I did watch quite a few; special shout out to Heavy Midnites for their Ladies of the 80s: A Decade of Horror, where they showed 8 horror films over 3 days all directed by women), but I found myself watching almost everything TCM showed during their Trailblazing Women in Film series. They showed over 50 films from 47 different directors over the course of the month. I saw 25 new-to-me films, plus I re-watched another 11 films that are favorites of mine. If you missed my live-tweet of Valley Girl, you missed a tripendicular good time! As always, the full list of what I watched can be found after the cut, as well as a few highlights.
- The Ocean Waif
- The Blot
- The Love Light
- Without Lying Down – Frances Marion and the Powerful Women in Hollywood
- La fée aux choux (The Cabbage Fairy)
- The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ
- Canned Harmony
- A House Divided
- Falling Leaves
- The Red Kimono
- Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed)
- Near Dark
- A Night to Dismember
- Honeymoon (2014)
- First Love
- True Love (1989)
- Border Radio
- Big Stone Gap
- Kiss of the Damned
- Crossing Delancey
- A Dry White Season
- Mrs. Soffel
- Portrait of Jason
- The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter
- Wrestling Ernest Hemingway
- Home For The Holidays
- Losing Ground
- The Oracle
- Humanoids From the Deep
- Slumber Party Massacre
- Sorority House Massacre
- Stripped To Kill
- Blood Diner
- Salaam Bombay!
- The Purgation
- Trouble Every Day
This is a particularly hard month to highlight just five films because everything I watched on TCM was fucking fantastic. Their Trailblazing Women in Film series featured some real gems. I’m so grateful for it! That said, here are five new-to-me films from October that really stuck with me.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed, 1926 (dir. Lotte Reiniger)
Several of the best films I watched this month were lovingly restored by Milestone Films and I also so grateful for them. Made ten years before Disney’s first feature film, this full-length animated take on Arabian Nights features some of the most stunning animation you will ever see. A masterpiece from a truly visionary director.
Outrage, 1950 (dir. Ida Lupino)
Ida Lupino was a fearless director who tackled subjects that were considered taboo by many at the time. In this feature, she tackles rape (although she couldn’t say the word due to the production code) and its aftermath with a fierce point of view. Not only do we see how sexual assault can happen to anyone, Lupino also shows the devastating psychological toll it takes on the victim. This is a film that helped many other filmmakers tackle their own feelings about sexual assault and has been cited by Allison Anders as one of the most pivotal films in her career.
Portrait of Jason, 1967 (dir. Shirley Clarke)
Another film restored by Milestone Films (check out their Project Shirley website), this film is unlike anything else you’re likely ever to see. Filmed over one grueling 12-hour period, the film features would-be cabaret performer Jason Holiday as he regales the filmmakers with stories of his sordid life. Eventually, we watch as Jason’s veneer breaks down, and what we’re left with is the “truth” about his life. This is a controversial film for sure, but it’s also one of the most fascinating I’ve ever seen.
The Slumber Party Massacre, 1982 (dir. Amy Holden Jones)
A feminist slasher film from a screenplay by Rita Mae Brown? Yes! Although, according to director Amy Holden Jones, much of Brown’s screenplay was rewritten before the film went into production (although the main theme about the “driller killer” and what that represented stayed throughout). It’s a comedy, it’s a slasher, it’s an 80s girl sleepover, and it’s great. I saw this at Heavy Midnites‘ Ladies of the 80s; A Decade of Horror with the director present to share stories about the production. It was fantastic.
Salaam Bombay!, 1988 (dir. Mira Nair)
A tough film to watch, this was director Mira Nair’s first narrative feature (she came out of the documentary world). It tells the story of a young boy who is sent to work at the circus by his mother, then abandoned a left to fend for his own in the red light district of Bombay (Mumbai). It’s a tough, decidedly dark film, but Nair manages to find the humor and humanity within the turmoil. An absolute essential.
So that was October. It is now Noirvember! In order to make Noirvember fit (kind of) with A Year With Women, all the films I’m watching for #Noirvember this month will have women screenwriters. Also don’t forget to sign up for Women In Film’s #52FilmsByWomen challenge! See you in December!
Posted on November 1, 2015, in 2015 in Films and tagged A Year With Women, Outrage, Portrait of Jason, Salaam Bombay!, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, The Slumber Party Massacre. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.