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Feminist Film: Joyce Wieland The Passionate Director(Ess)With Bibliography

1968 words - 8 pages

JOYCE WIELAND The Passionate Director(ess)INTRODUCTIONWhat attracted me the most to the works of Joyce Wieland is how they're reminiscent of the popular TV show, The Simpsons, critiquing the problems of a nation in such a witty and ready-to-swallow form. Yet it was this feminist punch that underlay these political advocations throughout her films that truly struck the apple of my eye. A painter, sculptor, quilt-maker and film-maker, Toronto-born-and-raised Wieland was the first female artist to challenge the male-dominated art world of the '50s and '60s, eventually becoming one of the country's most productive and acclaimed artists, the first female ever to be recognized with a solo exhibit ...view middle of the document...

Yet, non have come to terms with the categorization of her form or style, or is she simply a category all by herself. The three readings I've chosen, listed from earliest to recent, deliberate this issue mainly. By their contradictions, I would like to tackle this issue and determine for myself what are the patterns in Wieland's work that defines "wielandism", if there is such a thing.PRECIS ONE: "There Is Only One Joyce" by B. Adams Sitney (1970)_____________. "There Is Only One Joyce." Artscanada 142-143 (Apr.1970): 43-45 In this essay, Sitney inserts Wieland's films into the category of structural film. Yet he immediately questions his assumption for structural denotes the apolitical, high modernistic, and formalist that Wieland transcends. He recognizes her political concerns and even begins his essay with, "The future course of Joyce Wieland's film is unpredictable" (p.43). Sitney comes to terms with the stylistic contradictions in Wieland's films by reviewing their historical context. He says her arrival in New York conincided with a shift in avant-garde filmmaking from a psychoanalytic sensibility to an intellectual and plastic approach. He claims that Wieland owes her allegiance to the latter but her domestic subject matter and use of sound recall Marie Menken and the Kuchar Brothers. Reason Over Passion, her major film to date, brings the perceptual, sensual and political elements together: "With its many eccentricities, it is a glyph of her artistic personality: a lyric vision tempered by an aggressive form, and a visionary patriotism mixed with ironic self-parody. It is a film to be seen many times" (p.45).PRECIS TWO: "Textual Excess in Joyce Wieland's Handtinting" by Kass BanningBanning, Kass. "Testual Excess in Joyce Wieland's Handtinting." CineAction 5 (Spring 1986):12-14 This essay takes issue with critics who have assigned Wieland's work to the structural canon because her films exceed such narrow categorization. Banning describes Wieland's attitude (or her authorship) as echoing inside as well as outside of the film, implying that Wieland's "formalist" critical reception overlooked her political concerns. Banning also explores the textual activity of Handtinting not in terms with its radical subject matter-- localized women's concerns, etc.--but as the subversion of traditional film syntax. For instance, the women's gestures and movements are highly fragmented, creating a musical rhythm that recalls the pre-linguistic primitive energy referred to in Julia Kristeva's theory of the semiotic. This energy stands in a sharp contrast to the silence of the film. Banning, however, didn't all together cancel out the feminist issue underlining the film. She finally attributes "a feminine (though not necessarily female) site of utopian possibility" to Wieland's film (p.14).PRECIS THREE: "The Feminine Body: Joyce Wieland's Water Sark" by Kay ArmatageArmatage, Kay. "The Feminine Body: Joyce Wieland's Water Sark." Canadian Woman...

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