Monday, June 17, 2024

Nina Menkes will forever change the way you see films

The eye-opening doc Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power from trailblazing filmmaker Nina Menkes opens October 21 via Kino Lorber.

In this eye-opening documentary, celebrated independent filmmaker Nina Menkes explores the sexual politics of cinematic shot design. Using clips from hundreds of movies we all know and love, from the days of silent cinema to as recent as yesterday, Menkes convincingly makes the argument that shot design is not only gendered but reflects our very culture.

Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power illuminates the patriarchal narrative codes that hide within supposedly “classic” set-ups and camera angles, and demonstrates how women are frequently displayed as objects for the use, support, and pleasure of male subjects. Building on the essential work of film theorist Laura Mulvey and other feminist writers, Menkes shows how these not-so-subtle embedded messages affect and intersect with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse and assault, as well as employment discrimination against women, especially in the film industry.

The film features interviews with an all-star cast of women and non-binary industry professionals including Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Charlyne Yi, Joey Soloway, Catherine Hardwicke, Eliza Hittman, and Rosanna Arquette. The result is an electrifying call-to-action that will fundamentally change the way you see, and watch, movies.

What the critics are saying:

One of NPR’s Top Five Films to See This Fall —NPR

“Destined to forever change how you look at films.” — Kate Erbland, Indiewire

“Menkes is a real no-bullshit breath of fresh air. With a torch. And with any luck, she’s heading your way to set fire to something, soon.” —Finn Halligan, Screen Daily

“Explosive and compelling.” —James Kleinman, The Queer Review

“The knowledge that took me years of study and practice to acquire is now available to anyone who watches BRAINWASHED.” — Marilyn Ferdinand, Alliance of Women Film Journalists

“[Menkes] calls for a radical reinvention of how shots and film grammar are formulated… Viewers are meant to wrestle with this film, not passively consume a simple message — and they’ll leave invigorated.” — Violet Lucca, Bust

“Subversive!…Menkes is not afraid to take on the film canon, and the directors hailed as the gold standard.” – Ray Lobo, Film Threat

About Nina Menkes

Called “Brilliant, one of the most provocative artists in film today,” by The Los Angeles Times, and a “Cinematic Sorceress” by The New York Times, Menkes’ films synthesize inner dream worlds with brutal, outer realities. Her work has been shown widely in major international film festivals, including Sundance (four feature premieres), the Berlinale, Locarno, Toronto, and MOMA in NYC. She has had numerous international retrospectives and her early work has been selected for restoration by the Academy Film Archive and Scorsese’s Film Foundation. Menkes is a directing member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellow and on the faculty at California Institute of the Arts. For more information:

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