program

FILMS

Human Females

Femei Umane

74 films in 13 categories
Valie Export
Austria
116'


1979
Photo Film

V.O.

German

subtitles

English, Romanian


Original Title

Menschenfrauen

CATEGORY

WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF GENDER EQUALITY

synopsis

At the same time as Carole Roussopoulos and Delphine Seyrig in France and other artists within Women’s Liberation Movements all around the world, in 1972 Austrian artist Valie Export wrote a feminist manifesto called "Women’s Art", in which she highlighted the cultural and social implications of western white elitist male domination, male fantasy and male control of the arts - for centuries, womanhood has been presented by artists who had no knowledge of what it is to be female -, and developed her ideas in her own art. With her film "Menschenfrauen" (1979), she states Women (Frauen) must be allowed to be human beings (Menschen) and not only wives raising the kids of their men: "We must establish a human society in which motherhood does not restrict a woman in her creativity and determination" (V.E.). This film portrays Franz, a journalist in simultaneous relationships with four women: his wife Anna, his mistress, a liaison with a single-mom and another one with a former college girlfriend. A central conflict for each of these women is the fact they are mothers or would-be mothers and the prospect of going childless isn't desirable for any of them. After seeing through Franz playboy’s game, the four women will attempt to break free one way or another. Valie Export explores here the figure of a variation of women with her own specific language, without being afraid to experiment and break the usual way of narrating a story: interrupting it with black & white flashbacks, re-enactments of the same sequence by both characters swapping roles, split screens, grotesque staging of dreams, etc. It is all together narrative and anti-narrative, a free performance allowing us to go beyond these love stories to be able to reflect on it, with Valie Export.(by Vanina Vignal)

* The film is not recommended under 18 years

awards and festivals

Berlin International Film Festival 1980

International Film Festival Rotterdam 1980

distributor

Sixpackfilm

POSTER

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