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Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power film image; director Nina Menkes

Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power

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“If the camera is predatory, then the culture is predatory.” In this provocative revisionist documentary, celebrated independent filmmaker Nina Menkes explores the sexual politics of cinematic shot design. Using clips from hundreds of movies we all know and love – from Metropolis to Vertigo to Phantom Thread – Menkes makes the argument that shot design is gendered.

Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power illuminates the patriarchal narrative codes that hide within supposedly “classic” set-ups and camera angles, and demonstrates how women are frequently displayed as objects for the use, support, and pleasure of male subjects. Building on the essential work of Laura Mulvey and other feminist writers, Menkes shows how these not-so-subtle embedded messages affect and intersect with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse and assault, as well as employment discrimination against women, especially in the film industry.

The film features interviews with an all-star cast of women and non-binary industry professionals including Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Charlyne Yi, Joey Soloway, Catherine Hardwicke, Eliza Hittman, and Rosanna Arquette. The result is an electrifying call-to-action that will fundamentally change the way you see, and watch, movies.

Nina Menkes’ eye-opening documentary will forever change how you look at films.

Kate Erbland, Indiewire

Accessible, engrossing, urgent, and horrifying. It should be sought out – and shared, and acclaimed – by anyone, of any gender, who claims to truly love cinema.

Lena Wilson, The Playlist

Menkes is a real no-bullshit breath of fresh air. With a torch. And with any luck, she’s heading your way to set fire to something, soon.

Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

Director

Nina Menkes

Featuring

Nina Menkes, Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Charlyne Yi, Laura Mulvey, Catherine Hardwicke, Eliza Hittman, Rosanna Arquette

Credits
Country of Origin

USA

Year

2022

Language

English

19+
107 min

Book Tickets

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Credits

Executive Producer

Abigail Disney, Tim Disney, Susan Disney Lord

Producer

Nina Menkes

Screenwriter

Nina Menkes

Cinematography

Shana Hagan

Editor

Cecily Rhett

Original Music

Sharon Farber