Apr 19, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Unvictiming: Women Filmmakers Reframe Sexual Violence
With Winnie Li, Christen Clifford, Natalie Eilbert & Daniella Shreir in conversation following the program.
UnionDocs is thrilled to present Unvictiming, a series programmed by Another Gaze: A Feminist Film Journal, that focuses on female-directed short films that reframe sexual violence.
In the past year, our culture has become suffused with stories of sexual violence: women’s stories that span decades. Finally, we are listening and believing.
Yet, largely careless and titillating depictions of rape and sexual violence continue to dominate — ELLE, Nocturnal Animals, Gone Girl…
Unvictiming interrogates how we should (re)present sexual violence. Bringing together largely overlooked short films on the subject, Another Gaze’s Daniella Shreir, has selected a five decades-spanning series of short films, on this subject as seen by women filmmakers. From Mendieta to Campion, this selection of work will be presented in context with a post-screening discussion with Shreir, artist Christen Clifford, and activist Winnie Li.
Jane Campion, 24 min., 1984
The difficulty of separating sexual fantasy and reality become apparent at an investigation of an alledged sexual harassment case.
Rungano Nyoni, 12 min., 2014
A woman in a burqa brings her son to a police station in Copenhagen to file a complaint against her abusive husband, but the translator seems unwilling to convey the true meaning of her words.
Girls Daydream About Hollywood
Jennifer Reeves, 5 min., 1992
“A fragmented psychic landscape where TV clips, bar talk, and rape loom close, trying to reconstruct and resolve sexual abuse becomes a complex project of association and recall.” – Elisabeth Subrin, Visions
Jennifer Montgomery, 17 min., 1989
“With commanding cinematic style, Montgomery retraces events of a night nine years ago when, between her boyfriend’s dorm and her parent’s house, she was raped at gunpoint. Super 8 camera in tow, she uncovers the psychology of the incident, relating how the authorities and her family tried to disavow her claims and the crime. Pondering the bland suburban landscape, her subsequent obsession with guns and the blurring of guilt, responsibility and betrayal, Montgomery boldly masters the trauma through memory, self-narration and artistic intervention.” – WMM
Deborah Stratman, 3 min., 2001
A small portrait of the volatility of intimacy, and of breaking free from abusive cycles. Made in response to a year of collapsing relationships and violent accidents that left me broken, dislocated and stuck in my apartment.
Ruth Novaczek, 10 min., 1989
“Ruth Novaczek’s first film takes the form of a confession to the filmmaker’s new lover. It was originally shot super 8 and re-filmed from two projectors to create various superimpositions. For Novaczek, this is a film about what she terms “the typical Jewish London woman of (her) generation”, who grew up in the 1960s, denying her culture and sexuality, only to try to come to terms with it during the tumultuous Thatcherite 1980s.” – BFI
100 Women I Know
Phoebe Montague, 13 min., 2017
100 Women I Know, is a documentary film, based on 100 responses to a questionnaire about rape and sexual assault.
A Trial, The Transcript
Fiona Rukschcio, 10 min., 2015
“A Trial. The Transcript. tells the story of how an evening presumably planned as a relaxed gathering of friends ended in rape. Fiona Rukschcio alternatingly aligns fragmentary testimony given by a young woman and the accused, as read by sober off-screen voices that reconstruct the events of that night step by step… Fiona Rukschcios meets the desire to sum up an act of violence in a paragraph with an oppressive blur.” – Jana Koch, Six Pack Film
Christen Clifford is a feminist performance artist, writer, curator, mother and professor. She is a 2018 Feminist-in-Residence at Project for Empty Space in Newark, NJ and her work has been shown and performed at The New Museum, Postmasters Gallery, Panoply Performance Lab, SoHo20, AUNTSisDance, The Culture Project, PS122, ArtShareLA and Vox Populii. She is a core member of the feminist performance collective No Wave Performance Task Force and was the lead artist on We Wish Ana Mendieta Was Still Alive outside Dia:Chelsea and collaborated with Jennifer Tamayo on Crying, A Protest at Dia:Beacon. She has written for The Guardian, CultureBot, and HuffPo. She teaches Rape Culture & Sexual Justice, The Body in Performance Art, What is Rape Culture? and Contemporary Feminisms at The New School. She lives in Queens and online @cd_clifford
Natalie Eilbert is the author of Indictus, winner of Noemi Press’s 2016 Poetry Prize, which “re-imagines various creation myths to bear the invisible and unsaid assaults of women. In doing so, it subverts notions of patriarchal power into a genre that can be demolished and set again”. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Granta, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2016 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship at University of Wisconsin–Madison and is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.
Daniella Shreir is a London-based founder-editor of printed feminist film journal Another Gaze, a programmer, translator, freelance film researcher and a graphic designer and photographer. Her work has been featured in publications including Intern magazine, and is available to purchase here. She is interested in moving image work on trauma, the queer subject and the mother, and is currently working with director Elisabeth Subrin on a film about Maria Schneider.
Winnie M Li is an author, producer and activist, and a PhD researcher at LSE investigating how social media can help rape survivors heal. She has written widely on her experience of sexual violence and her debut novel on the subject, ‘Dark Chapter’, won the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2017