Goings On

Celebrating the Women of New Hollywood

Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (1978)

In the myth of the New Hollywood of the 1970s, all the heroes are men. Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Robert Altman, and the rest are often thought to have rescued both the art and the business of American cinema, wresting control from a moribund studio system to create their personal visions. With the BAMcinématek series now running in New York through May 20, programmer Jesse Trussell presents a counter-narrative, one that puts unsung women filmmakers front and center.

In the New York Times, Manohla Dargis argues that this series, A Different Picture: Women Filmmakers in the New Hollywood Era, 1967-1980, “is at once an act of cine-activism and of historical revisionism.” Her article zeroes in on such directors as Elaine May, Barbara Loden, Joan Micklin Silver, and Claudia Weill.

Carmen Gray, at the Village Voice, writes about some of these same filmmakers but also about Cinda Firestone, whose documentary Attica (1974) is “a searing indictment of a jail system rife with routine power abuse,” and Kate Millett and Susan Kleckner, whose Three Lives (1971) features “a trio of candid autobiographical interviews with women who broke free from traps of socialization into more self-governed, purposeful existences at a time when the Women’s Lib movement was only just beginning.”

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