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!Women Art Revolution: Film Review

The Bottom Line

Rich portrait of the Feminist Art Movement. 

Venue:

Sundance Film Festival, New Frontier

Writer-director:

Lynn Hershman Leeson

It took 42 years for filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson to make "!Women Art Revolution." The film, about the emerging feminist movement, is comprehensive and vibrant.

PARK CITY - It took 42 years for filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson to make !Women Art Revolution. There's a good reason for that: She was a leading participant in the Feminist Art Movement and her informative documentary begins in the 1970s. Acquired by Zeitgeist Films, it's a vigorous mix of interviews, art, film footage and video.

Indicative of its power, the film has also screened at the Toronto and Berlin international film festivals, a rarity. It is truly a must for university arts archives and other artistic institutions.

!Women Art Revolution smartly mixes the dynamics of the emerging feminist movement of the late '60s with the prevailing male chauvinism of the arts world at the time. Leading museums rarely included female artists; indeed, women's presence in such galleries was usually limited to their appearance as nude subjects of male paintings and sculpture.

In this comprehensive and vibrant historical fabric, we view the evolution of the movement, from its earnest/angry genesis in the 1970s to its embrace of humor as a weapon against the male-dominated arts establishment during the 1980s. It has always been a richly conflicted progression, indeed, a key ingredient of its power and metamorphosis.

Near its finish, contemporary female artists and curators lend perspective and appreciation for the movement, realizing they are the enriched descendants of such courageous artistic talents as Barbara Kreuger, Cindy Sherman and Shirin Neshat.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival, New Frontier
Production: Hotwire Prods.
Cast: Lynn Hershman Leeson
Writer-director: Lynn Hershman Leeson
Producers: Lynn Hershman Leeson, Kyle Stephan, Alexandra Chowaniec
Executive producer: Sarah Peter
Editors: Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jesse Spencer
Music: Carrie Brownstein
No Rating, 83 minutes