Infamously macho author Norman Mailer shares a 1971 NYC panel with an audience of intellectual women and famous feminists receiving a lively critique revealing the sophisticated political, literary discourse of early Women's Lib movement.
The infamously macho American author shares a 1971 New York City panel with a group of famous feminists and responds as well to a lively critique from other intellectual women in the audience, in this time capsule of what a sophisticated political and literary public discussion was like in the early days of Women's Liberation.Written by
Town Bloody Hall is a documentary that charts the course of a public debate about feminism and the feminist movement, chaired by none other than Norman Mailer. The film is quite humorous at times as the debate grows a little heated, but in the end I have to wonder why it was felt that this would constitute riveting viewing material. The various participants in the debate seem quite un-sure as to the validity of their respective arguements when cross-examined by the other speakers, Mailer in particular. Jill Johnson´s vontribution, a feminist-lesbian poem was the most interesting part of the movie, not only because it was highly entertaining, but also because it´s length of duration (over the allotted ten minutes) appeared to infuriate an up till then in control Mr Mailer. It was interesting to see him wringle on the end of his own hook. Germaine Greer made an interesting point about the immorality of some rich folks earning more in one week than a thousand working-class families could make, collectively, in a year. How this rightful indignation, however, reflected on a debate concerned with feminism and woman´s issues in a patriarchal world was a little beyond my comprehension!. The film displays all the hallmarks we have come to expect from D.A. Pennebaker - grainy shots, out of focus shots, hand-held camera shots, etc. How come all of his documentary films seem to appear somehow "out of date", as though the camera stock being used was slowly disintegrating?. This film was only made in 1979 yet it feels as though it belongs to some period in the sixties, between "Monterey Pop" and "Don´t look Back". An intersting look at an interesting debate, but ultimately I felt that a more satisfactory film could have been made to enhance and illuminate the issues that were discussed.
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