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Amy! (1979)

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A short pseudo-documentary film about Amy Johnson who was the first woman to fly solo from Great Britain to Australia.


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A short pseudo-documentary film about Amy Johnson who was the first woman to fly solo from Great Britain to Australia.

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11 April 2001 | by J. HarlanSee all my reviews

Although credited exclusively here under feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey, noted seiologist Peter Wollen was also instrumental in this strange anti-documentary.

Both Wollen and Mulvey had been involved in semiology and psychoanalytical film theory (two fields perhaps better at polemics than academic debate, although who am I to say that given their influence?) and incorporated a number of theories they had on upsetting the viewer, self-referential film-making, relativism and de-aestheticizing the female body into this film on aviatrix Amy Johnson. You're bombarded with seemingly incongruent methods of presentation. It's like a jigsaw puzzle that has been forced to fit together with the wrong pieces.

You won't learn much about Johnson-- Mulvey and Wollen's branch of academics was devoutly ahistorical--but you will see an interesting response to mainstream Hollywood film-making and voice of God documentary. And a great segment set to X-Ray Spex's "Identity."

It's interesting to see feminist psychoanalytic theory incorporated into film--painted mirrors, split selves, castration fears, stuff like that. Still, it's an activist film for academics. If you're really interested in feminist documentary, see Harlan County, USA or The Life and Times of Rosie the Rivetor.

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