Potter: sallypotter.comSally Potter
is a proud, self-identified feminist. As she told The Guardian in a new interview, everyone on her newest film, the black comedy “The Party
,” received equal pay. However, she is hesitant to describe her movies — which include “Orlando
,” “Ginger & Rosa,” “The Tango Lesson
,” and “Yes” — as feminist in and of themselves.
In Potter’s opinion, the term “feminist” is only being applied to women-directed fare, even though compelling female characters have been featured in plenty of male-helmed films, too. “I object to having my films called feminist, implying they’re only for a certain audience of like-minded people and that the film itself would preach that line,” Potter explained. “Feminist is somehow different from saying ‘anti-racist.’ I would think of my films, or my life, everything in my life, as anti-racist, but you don’t hear that as a label. But feminist film is seen as specific.”
She added, “Why aren’t Ken Loach
’s films called feminist? ‘The feminist filmmaker Ken Loach
’ or ‘the feminist filmmaker Mike Leigh
’ — why don’t we read that? And if not, why not?”
Potter has a point: We are more apt to describe women-directed films as feminist than their men-directed counterparts, even though “feminist” isn’t actually a gender-specific adjective or noun. And it seems that she has no qualm with the term itself — she is simply concerned that the description will marginalize her work.
“I’m completely proud of the word. The feminist movement is one of the most vibrant, extraordinary political movements of the 20th century, and now there’s a younger generation who’s taken it up again with great joy and pleasure, and that’s wonderful to see,” Potter says. “But I object to the way it’s used as a prefix to my work, to ghettoize it, often as part of a criticism rather than an appreciation. I just want to occupy a free space without a prefix. Because what does it mean? I have to ask someone, what exactly do you mean by that term and what is it adding to anyone’s understanding who might go and see the film?”
Starring Emily Mortimer
(“Doll & Em”), Cherry Jones
”), Kristin Scott Thomas
(“The English Patient
”), Cillian Murphy
(“The Dark Knight
” trilogy), Bruno Ganz
”), and Timothy Spall
”), “The Party
” is about a group of friends who gather for a dinner party that goes spectacularly off the rails. It opens in the UK this Friday, October 13. Roadside Attractions
is handling the film’s U.S. distribution, but no official release date has been announced yet.
Quote of the Day: Sally Potter
on Being a Feminist vs. Making Feminist Films was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.