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Youree Dell Harris,
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ANITA tells the story about a young, brilliant African American Anita Hill who accuses the Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of unwanted sexual advances during explosive Senate Hearings in 1991 and ignites a political firestorm about sexual harassment, race, power and politics that resonates 20 years later today. ANITA is a dramatic look at the consequences to a private citizen acting out of a civic duty to 'speak truth to power.' For the first time on film Anita Hills speaks about her experience in the Senate Hearings, her impact on issues of sexual harassment, workplace rights for women and men, social justice and equality. The film is about the empowerment of girls and women, and men, through the extraordinary story of Anita Hill. Written by
I remember Anita Hill's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. (I almost wrote Hill's "trial" because that's what it felt like.) During it, she was asked questions by Senators that made her repeat and describe, again and again, Clarence Thomas's vulgar and grotesque treatment of her when she worked with him-- or, more to the point, worked for him. It's much harder to issue a complaint about a boss than a colleague. During the testimony, one of my sisters phoned me and said, "I feel like I'm being sexually abused, exposed to this." She was right. The Senate put the whole country through an ordeal that was vile and, as it turned out, ignored: they confirmed Clarence Thomas anyway.
Hill's impact was not ignored by the media, though, or the nation.
This is a completely conventional documentary. I hesitate to offer a single criticism of it because Anita Hill is the subject, and she-- like so many civil rights activists before her-- is an inspiration throughout. Her calmness, her unflinching determination, and her intelligence shine through every stage of her story.
The film interviews a variety of people, all of whom shed light on the way race and gender issues are mishandled in Washington, where all that seems to matter, in the end, is power.
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