women in film

Mittwoch, der 12. Juli 2017

This morning my doctoral supervisor Michael Diers screened the film „Werner Nekes – Das Leben zwischen den Bildern„, (2017, 87 min) by Ulrike Pfeiffer as part of the 250 Years of HFBK Hamburg anniversary celebrations. The film was schockingly unilateral: Not one important women of the 50s/60s/70s film scene was included. Women appeared as naked objects, as ideal figures, as old-mens-fantasies.
But among all undoubtable famous interview partners was not one single women! Dore O. was referred to as „assistant“, Eva Hesse only offered material for Nekes´work, even Nekes´ granddaughter had to be guided by her bigger brother in this film. Michael Diers referred to „Das Leben zwischen den Bildern“ as „inspiration for young artists“ but which inspirational message is really transported here? That mothers just throw away things out of delusional sense of order, while grandfathers support artistic skills, as Nekes tells us by reporting his „biggest trauma in life“ caused by his mother, throwing away his stone-collection? Or is this message the answer of Ulrike Pfeiffer to my question, why women are left out, that the widow of Nekes´, Ursula Richert-Nekes, didn´t want her to film the kitchen, in contrast to Werner, who was „easier“? I was utterly schocked by this non-reflective position: As female director in the 21st century you can´t just reproduce the narrative of a male art history! If you absolute need to make yourself the instrument of an artist, you can still make your point, your comment, you could mark this blind spot or name it, or… but you mustn´t just reproduce. Here appeared a very exciting field of possible research to do: With all the „grand old men“ dying, the widows gain a lot of power as estate executors. Either it is Terry Fox´estate or recently deceased Helmut Kohls– it´s worth the effort to take a closer look at those women, regaining their power of interpretation, as opposed to well-meaning „documentations“.

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