A Long Overlooked Portion of Cinematic History That Continues to Evolve
Dykes, Camera, Action!
Year Released: 2018
Director(s): Caroline Berler
Where To Watch: Available to screen at Ovid.TV
RAVING REVIEW: As an open-minded individual, I was eager to delve into lesbian cinema in DYKES, CAMERAS, ACTION! Yes, you read that title correctly; I love that groups are reclaiming words and making them powerless in the hands of people who wish them harm. This documentary showcases the genre's evolution in America, its roots in the post-Stonewall era, the feminist movement, and the avant-garde film scene of the 1970s. It features illuminating interviews with several pioneering filmmakers who offer a glimpse into their lives and share their thoughts on the depiction of LGBTQ+ identity through the art of cinema.
One of the film's most intriguing aspects is the account of a groundbreaking filmmaker's journey to secure a multi-million-dollar budget for her movie. The film critic's sharp wit and commentary, particularly on lesbian vampires in the late 1960s and early 1970s, add a delightful touch to the documentary. The film clocks in just under an hour but could’ve done better to expand its coverage into the traditional hour-and-a-half range.
While DYKES, CAMERAS, ACTION! presents a broad overview of lesbian cinema in America; it falls short in taking a comprehensive look worldwide, again a minor issue that could’ve been solved with a longer runtime. Despite this limitation, the documentary is an excellent starting point for further examination of this neglected corner of film history.
The documentary still holds immense value for film students and casual fans alike. The documentary keeps it simple, combining powerful interviews and film clips. It provides an engaging and educational perspective on this significant movement in cinema.
Watching these trailblazing women talk about their films, passions, and disappointments, the movie flew by. Every moment was packed with intrigue; interviews from Filmmakers Barbara Hammer, Su Friedrich, Rose Troche, Cheryl Dunye, Yoruba Richen, Desiree Akhavan, Vicky Du, film critic B. Ruby Rich, Jenni Olson, and others; allowed you to experience comprehensive range viewpoints.
In conclusion, DYKES, CAMERAS, ACTION! is a must-see for anyone who values film history and the representation of queer identity. It offers a window into a world that has long been overlooked and provides a platform for some truly remarkable voices.
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[photo courtesy of CAROLINE BERLER]