Diouana: Back in Dakar they must be saying: “Diouana is happy in France . . .She has a good life.” For me, France is the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom and my bedroom. Where are the people who live in this country? The mistress told me: “You’ll see, Diouana, there are lovely shops in France.” Is France that black hole? What am I here? The cook? The cleaning woman? The washerwoman? And when the kids come, what else will I have to do? I’m alone. Did the mistress bring me here to shut me in? That’s why she was so nice to me in Dakar, giving me her old dresses, her old slips, her old shoes. I spend my life between the kitchen and my bedroom. Is that living in France?
Shura: Before the war, I lived in Moscow. But after the evacuation, I found myself here. So it goes.
Nadezhda Petrukhina: I have friends in Moscow. I haven’t seen them in about five years.
Shura: It would be great to see Moscow.
Nadezhda Petrukhina: Funny thing is, sometimes I set down to write them a letter and nothing comes of it. There’s nothing interesting to write about. I feel I should make something up.
Shura: Nothing interesting in your life? I would never have thought.
Nadezhda Petrukhina: Seems like I’m always running around, but it’s all for nothing. There’s no pleasure in it for me or for anyone else. That’s the way it goes.
Shura: I don’t know. I enjoy life. It’s just a shame that time goes by so fast.
This is my 8th piece for Female Filmmaker Friday and I thought with the news of Věra Chytilová’s passing this week it would be the perfect time to discuss her seminal work of 1960s feminist film. Chytilová was an important member of the Czech New Wave and basically the only major voice of that movement to stay in her home country despite its harsh reception of subversive art and often being subjected to censorship and having her films banned in her own country. She’s a fascinating figure and deserves much more attention that she often gets.