Feminism & Film: Personal & Political

Influential women filmmakers and landmark films from the collective filmmaking practices associated with the heady days of the 1970s and '80s women's movement in Sydney.

Film for Discussion
Australia | 1974 | 25 mins | In English
Sydney Women's Film Group, including Martha Ansara and Jeni Thornley
Documentary-drama by activists, actors and emerging filmmakers, created as a workshop project to provoke discussion, following a day in a young woman's consciousness raising.

The slogan at the time was ‘the personal is the political’. By analysing their own lives and experience, the filmmakers could better understand the general position of women, the social expectations and the work issues. – Pat Fiske, Australian Screen Online

We Aim to Please
Australia |1976 |13 mins | In English
Robin Laurie and Margot Nash
An anarcho-surrealist-insurrectionary feminist romp about female sexuality, visual pleasure and body image, with the filmmakers challenging assumptions about the male gaze.

Winner of the Jury Prize, L’Homme Regarde, L’Homme Film Festival, Paris, 1978
We Aim to Please is angry, mordantly witty, funny, abrasive, hits you with lyrical paradoxes ... it rings bells in the subconscious as well as the front of the mind. – Virginia Fraser, Filmnews

For Love or Money: a history of women and work in Australia
Australia | 1983 | 107 mins | In English
Megan McMurchy, Margot Nash, Margot Oliver, Jeni Thornley
High point in an era of feminist documentary filmmaking, lovingly woven together from women's personal stories, archival collections and excerpts from Australia's film history.

Winner of Best Feature Documentary, Incontro Internazionale del Cinema delle Donne, Florence, 1984
Winner of United Nations Media Peace Prize, 1985

For Love or Money was one of a new genre of historical documentaries, where young filmmakers took command of the archive and used its images (both those that had helped determine national histories and those that had been denied a contribution to these histories) to attempt to reformulate – or at least refocus – collective memories. – Adrienne Parr, Australian Screen Online

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Sydney Women Retrospective, Retrospective/Restoration, Women, Gender & Sexuality, Politics & Economics