Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jewish Journal Quotes CSW Director in article on "In the Land of Blood and Honey"

Susan Freudenheim quotes CSW Kathleen McHugh in an article on the premiere of "In the Land of Blood and Honey" in the Jewish Journal:

Kathleen A. McHugh, director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women, which was one of the presenters of the premiere event, spoke to me as well about her impressions of the film, which she had already seen twice. McHugh is a film scholar as well as a leader in women’s studies, and we discussed how Jolie depicted horrific rape scenes with tremendous empathy for the women: “The camera spends most of its time on reaction shots,” McHugh pointed out. “You saw people’s feet, but not the act. Everything is being used to de-eroticize rape.” McHugh added that “Hollywood has no trouble showing women in the worst circumstances being perfectly coiffed,” but these women are shown without makeup or enhancements and yet are allowed to be beautiful in their own right.

What is most important about this film, she noted, is not just the story it tells of what once happened, but also of what might.

“I got the sense that the reason Jolie made the film is that the situation is still very fragile,” McHugh said.

Read the whole article: A Moment for Angelina Jolie

Friday, December 9, 2011

CSW cohosts LA premiere of "In the Land of Blood and Honey"

Kal Raustiala, Director of Burkle Center, Kathleen McHugh, CSW Director, actor Rade Šerbedžija,
Angelina Jolie, and actors Vanesa Glodjo, Zana Marjanović, Goran Kostić
On December 8th, CSW, The Burkle Center at UCLA, and FilmDistrict cohosted the premiere of "In the Land of Blood and Honey," Angelina Jolie's new film about the Bosnia War. Jolie wrote, directed, and produced the film about the plight of Muslim women during the Bosnian war. CSW is proud to be sponsoring this film because it grapples with a very difficult subject that we might otherwise want to forget—how women frequently suffer the most extreme outcomes of ethnic conflict and hostility, especially within conflict zones. Jolie’s film takes a direct and uncompromising look at the situation of Bosnian women who were subject to systematic sexual assault and other violence during the Bosnian war. The film ponders what war does to the human spirit and how, even at their most vulnerable, the women mount whatever strategies of resistance are available to them. The project grows out of Ms. Jolie's work with the UN refugee committee and her concern that suffering of the Bosnian women not be forgotten and not be repeated.

In the Land of Blood and Honey Official Site

Monday, December 5, 2011

Women in the Zone: Making History in Pacific Standard Time

Like many in the city, I have been reveling in the many events, openings, artwork, and exhibitions that make up the enormous Getty arts initiative, Pacific Standard Time (PST).  Women as artists and as subjects are strongly represented both among and within these exhibitions.

“Doin’ it in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building” at Otis is a must see, as is “She Accepts the Proposition: Women Gallerists and the Re-Definition of Art in LA” at Crossroads.  While the first contains extensive documentation on a landmark in the history of feminist art (plan several well-spent hours!), the latter uncovers an untold story about women’s contributions to the LA art scene through their art galleries. LACE and 18th Street Art Center celebrate the contributions of performance artists such as Suzanne Lacy, Rachel Rosenthal, Barbara T. Smith, Cheri Gaulke and Nancy Angelo, while individual shows survey the lifework of Beatrice Wood or feature new installation work of Sandra de la Loza in Mural Remix.  

Women are also prominently featured in shows with no particular gender focus such as “Now Dig This: African American Art 1960-1980” at the Hammer or “Mapping Another LA” at the Fowler. 

Recently, I attended the sensational symposium addressing “LA Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema,” an ongoing film series at the Hammer that documents the exceptional films made by post-Watts African American students in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in the 1970s and early 1980s.  The series opened with an evening of work by Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust and Four Women), followed by Haile Gerima’s Bush Mama and Bernard Nicholas’ Daydream Therapy, each of which featured African American women as protagonists.  The scholars and curators who put together this program—Professors Allyson Field of UCLA and Jacqueline Stewart of Northwestern along with Chris Horak, Director of the UCLA Film and Television Archive—have coordinated five interrelated activities to materialize the history of this vital film movement.  They found, preserved, and archived the films and the paper of the filmmakers; they did extensive oral histories, discovering many new filmmakers along the way; they exhibited the newly preserved films; they provided electronic access to papers and visual materials; and they will publish a book of research on this film movement.

In the instance of the LA Rebellion, Pacific Standard Time is not a one-off but an integrated approach to knowledge production, public programming, and community building. While the exhibition and public programming is on the surface, underneath are the archival work, the preservation, and the research, what is necessary to the making. The feminist movement taught us you have to pay attention to the making, to how things are made. Pacific Standard Time finds women everywhere, making the history it tells.  

–Kathleen McHugh, Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women
from CSW Update, November 2011