Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Feminist in the Dark: Reviewing the Movies

1988, possibly first edition, from The Crossing Press
Kathi Maio
Feminist in the Dark: Reviewing the Movies
Original price unknown, purchase price $5.49
Worn paperback

More than a dozen years after Haskell and Rosen's feminist criticism of movies from the silents to the '70s, Maio takes a look at movies from what seems to be 1985 to 1987.  (Unlike Kael, she goes thematically rather than chronologically in this collection, and then omits the dates most of the time.)  I recall reading her Popcorn and Sexual Politics first and always preferring it, so we'll see if that holds true when we get to 1991.  Here, as she admits in the Preface, she was getting her bearings as a new film critic.  Although she's generally thoughtful and insightful, including upon reflection her own blind spots, she does have some annoying tics, like the use of "womanist" (Wikipedia says it's Alice Walker's term for "black feminism," but Maio doesn't define it), and occasional wrong word choices, like "reprieve" for "reprise."

The only movie review here that influenced me to see a movie, and to read the original book, was Compromising Positions, although I think Kael's equally positive review (in her collection Hooked, coming up in '89) probably weighed more.  It is interesting to read Maio on Fatal Attraction, before not only Kael but Faludi.  I still haven't seen the movie, not just because it sounds incredibly misogynist (anti-single-woman in particular), but because I don't like horror movies.  Still, I probably will at some point, and it'll be good to reread Maio for that, as well as her appreciation for, of all things, Madonna's Who's That Girl.

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