Women Reply + Nightcleaners Part 1

Women Reply (Réponse de femmes)

Agnès Varda, France, 1975, DCP, 8’


When, in 1975, the year celebrated by the United Nations as International Women’s Year, a French TV broadcaster asked seven female filmmakers to provide a seven-minute reply to the question, “What is a woman?” Agnès Varda replied with a ciné-tract. Drawing inspiration from agitprop short films linked with the uprisings in May ’68 – most of them made anonymously – Varda presents us with a politically committed film in which women are liberated to talk about sex, their desires, the advertisement industry, and childbearing, all in the filmmaker’s unique and heartwarmingly poignant style. Varda gives us a naked pregnant woman dancing and laughing on camera while reading out the reproaches of TV spectators: a perfect response to the age of #metoo.

Nightcleaners Part 1 

Berwick Street Collective, UK, 1975, DCP, 90’


Nightcleaners Part 1 is a documentary made by members of the Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan), about the campaign to unionize the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimized and underpaid. Intending at the outset to make a campaign film, the Collective was forced to turn to new forms in order to represent the forces at work between the cleaners, the Cleaner’s Action Group and the unions – and the complex nature of the campaign itself. The result is an intensely self-reflexive film, which implicated both the filmmakers and the audience in the processes of precarious, invisible labor. It is increasingly recognised as a key work of the 1970s and as an important precursor, in both subject matter and form, to current political art practice. (LUX catalog)

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