Women and Films Meet at a Union

 

As an expository documentary, ‘Mulheres: uma outra história’ sought to gather as many testimonies as possible from the 23 female deputies who managed to achieve the approval of most of their proposals for the Brazilian Constitution, which was being written at the time. Despite being underrepresented in the National Congress and having significant political differences among themselves, the women successfully reached an agreement as to what should be demanded from the constitution, legislating for the basic labor rights of Brazilian women. Two sequences in particular demonstrate the film’s political allegiances. The first is the documentation of the 1986 marcha ‘Fala Mulher’ (‘Speak Up, Women’ march). Benedita da Silva, one of the few black representatives in politics in the country at that time, is seen giving a speech, while some of the most famous actresses of the time, such as Elizabeth Savalla, Lucélia Santos, and Lúcia Veríssimo stand behind her, singing songs to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Benedita looks at the camera and says, “speak, woman,” as if demanding our participation, too. The second sequence takes place in the federal capital of Brasília, where each part of the new Constitution is voted on. Before the beginning of the plenary session, the only bodies present inside Congress are the women hired to clean it. They wipe down the tables where the laws are decided and pick up the trash left behind by those who have power. Although brief, the sequence captures the gap between the lofty discourse of so-called “representative democracy” and the marginalisation it glosses over.

In ‘Street Lovers’, Gutman's most lauded film,[3] the testimonies of sex workers confront the moralising arguments of those who do not recognise prostitution as a valid form of labour. The speeches are interspersed with images of nightclubs and strip clubs, as cis- and trans* sex workers perform their everyday actions (walking the streets) and more symbolic ones that seem to have been staged for the camera (one woman is seen next to some Brazilian flags, another catwalks for the camera). The film’s strength lies in the camera’s back-and-forth between indoor and outdoor environments, as this contrasts the reality of the women’s experience with the conventional imagery of their bodies on display in the streets, and allows Gutman to question commonplace beliefs about prostitution.

Women and Films Meet at a Union

 

As an expository documentary, ‘Mulheres: uma outra história’ sought to gather as many testimonies as possible from the 23 female deputies who managed to achieve the approval of most of their proposals for the Brazilian Constitution, which was being written at the time. Despite being underrepresented in the National Congress and having significant political differences among themselves, the women successfully reached an agreement as to what should be demanded from the constitution, legislating for the basic labor rights of Brazilian women. Two sequences in particular demonstrate the film’s political allegiances. The first is the documentation of the 1986 marcha ‘Fala Mulher’ (‘Speak Up, Women’ march). Benedita da Silva, one of the few black representatives in politics in the country at that time, is seen giving a speech, while some of the most famous actresses of the time, such as Elizabeth Savalla, Lucélia Santos, and Lúcia Veríssimo stand behind her, singing songs to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Benedita looks at the camera and says, “speak, woman,” as if demanding our participation, too. The second sequence takes place in the federal capital of Brasília, where each part of the new Constitution is voted on. Before the beginning of the plenary session, the only bodies present inside Congress are the women hired to clean it. They wipe down the tables where the laws are decided and pick up the trash left behind by those who have power. Although brief, the sequence captures the gap between the lofty discourse of so-called “representative democracy” and the marginalisation it glosses over.

In ‘Street Lovers’, Gutman's most lauded film,[3] the testimonies of sex workers confront the moralising arguments of those who do not recognise prostitution as a valid form of labour. The speeches are interspersed with images of nightclubs and strip clubs, as cis- and trans* sex workers perform their everyday actions (walking the streets) and more symbolic ones that seem to have been staged for the camera (one woman is seen next to some Brazilian flags, another catwalks for the camera). The film’s strength lies in the camera’s back-and-forth between indoor and outdoor environments, as this contrasts the reality of the women’s experience with the conventional imagery of their bodies on display in the streets, and allows Gutman to question commonplace beliefs about prostitution.

Women and Films Meet

 

As an expository documentary, ‘Mulheres: uma outra história’ sought to gather as many testimonies as possible from the 23 female deputies who managed to achieve the approval of most of their proposals for the Brazilian Constitution, which was being written at the time. Despite being underrepresented in the National Congress and having significant political differences among themselves, the women successfully reached an agreement as to what should be demanded from the constitution, legislating for the basic labor rights of Brazilian women. Two sequences in particular demonstrate the film’s political allegiances. The first is the documentation of the 1986 marcha ‘Fala Mulher’ (‘Speak Up, Women’ march). Benedita da Silva, one of the few black representatives in politics in the country at that time, is seen giving a speech, while some of the most famous actresses of the time, such as Elizabeth Savalla, Lucélia Santos, and Lúcia Veríssimo stand behind her, singing songs to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Benedita looks at the camera and says, “speak, woman,” as if demanding our participation, too. The second sequence takes place in the federal capital of Brasília, where each part of the new Constitution is voted on. Before the beginning of the plenary session, the only bodies present inside Congress are the women hired to clean it. They wipe down the tables where the laws are decided and pick up the trash left behind by those who have power. Although brief, the sequence captures the gap between the lofty discourse of so-called “representative democracy” and the marginalisation it glosses over.

Women and Films Meet

 

As an expository documentary, ‘Mulheres: uma outra história’ sought to gather as many testimonies as possible from the 23 female deputies who managed to achieve the approval of most of their proposals for the Brazilian Constitution, which was being written at the time. Despite being underrepresented in the National Congress and having significant political differences among themselves, the women successfully reached an agreement as to what should be demanded from the constitution, legislating for the basic labor rights of Brazilian women. Two sequences in particular demonstrate the film’s political allegiances. The first is the documentation of the 1986 marcha ‘Fala Mulher’ (‘Speak Up, Women’ march). Benedita da Silva, one of the few black representatives in politics in the country at that time, is seen giving a speech, while some of the most famous actresses of the time, such as Elizabeth Savalla, Lucélia Santos, and Lúcia Veríssimo stand behind her, singing songs to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Benedita looks at the camera and says, “speak, woman,” as if demanding our participation, too. The second sequence takes place in the federal capital of Brasília, where each part of the new Constitution is voted on. Before the beginning of the plenary session, the only bodies present inside Congress are the women hired to clean it. They wipe down the tables where the laws are decided and pick up the trash left behind by those who have power. Although brief, the sequence captures the gap between the lofty discourse of so-called “representative democracy” and the marginalisation it glosses over.

Women and Films Meet

 

As an expository documentary, ‘Mulheres: uma outra história’ sought to gather as many testimonies as possible from the 23 female deputies who managed to achieve the approval of most of their proposals for the Brazilian Constitution, which was being written at the time. Despite being underrepresented in the National Congress and having significant political differences among themselves, the women successfully reached an agreement as to what should be demanded from the constitution, legislating for the basic labor rights of Brazilian women. Two sequences in particular demonstrate the film’s political allegiances. The first is the documentation of the 1986 marcha ‘Fala Mulher’ (‘Speak Up, Women’ march). Benedita da Silva, one of the few black representatives in politics in the country at that time, is seen giving a speech, while some of the most famous actresses of the time, such as Elizabeth Savalla, Lucélia Santos, and Lúcia Veríssimo stand behind her, singing songs to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Benedita looks at the camera and says, “speak, woman,” as if demanding our participation, too. The second sequence takes place in the federal capital of Brasília, where each part of the new Constitution is voted on. Before the beginning of the plenary session, the only bodies present inside Congress are the women hired to clean it. They wipe down the tables where the laws are decided and pick up the trash left behind by those who have power. Although brief, the sequence captures the gap between the lofty discourse of so-called “representative democracy” and the marginalisation it glosses over.

Women and Films Meet

 

As an expository documentary, ‘Mulheres: uma outra história’ sought to gather as many testimonies as possible from the 23 female deputies who managed to achieve the approval of most of their proposals for the Brazilian Constitution, which was being written at the time. Despite being underrepresented in the National Congress and having significant political differences among themselves, the women successfully reached an agreement as to what should be demanded from the constitution, legislating for the basic labor rights of Brazilian women. Two sequences in particular demonstrate the film’s political allegiances. The first is the documentation of the 1986 marcha ‘Fala Mulher’ (‘Speak Up, Women’ march). Benedita da Silva, one of the few black representatives in politics in the country at that time, is seen giving a speech, while some of the most famous actresses of the time, such as Elizabeth Savalla, Lucélia Santos, and Lúcia Veríssimo stand behind her, singing songs to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Benedita looks at the camera and says, “speak, woman,” as if demanding our participation, too. The second sequence takes place in the federal capital of Brasília, where each part of the new Constitution is voted on. Before the beginning of the plenary session, the only bodies present inside Congress are the women hired to clean it. They wipe down the tables where the laws are decided and pick up the trash left behind by those who have power. Although brief, the sequence captures the gap between the lofty discourse of so-called “representative democracy” and the marginalisation it glosses over.

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Women and Films Meet at a Union

 

As an expository documentary, ‘Mulheres: uma outra história’ sought to gather as many testimonies as possible from the 23 female deputies who managed to achieve the approval of most of their proposals for the Brazilian Constitution, which was being written at the time. Despite being underrepresented in the National Congress and having significant political differences among themselves, the women successfully reached an agreement as to what should be demanded from the constitution, legislating for the basic labor rights of Brazilian women. Two sequences in particular demonstrate the film’s political allegiances. The first is the documentation of the 1986 marcha ‘Fala Mulher’ (‘Speak Up, Women’ march). Benedita da Silva, one of the few black representatives in politics in the country at that time, is seen giving a speech, while some of the most famous actresses of the time, such as Elizabeth Savalla, Lucélia Santos, and Lúcia Veríssimo stand behind her, singing songs to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Benedita looks at the camera and says, “speak, woman,” as if demanding our participation, too. The second sequence takes place in the federal capital of Brasília, where each part of the new Constitution is voted on. Before the beginning of the plenary session, the only bodies present inside Congress are the women hired to clean it. They wipe down the tables where the laws are decided and pick up the trash left behind by those who have power. Although brief, the sequence captures the gap between the lofty discourse of so-called “representative democracy” and the marginalisation it glosses over.

In ‘Street Lovers’, Gutman's most lauded film,[3] the testimonies of sex workers confront the moralising arguments of those who do not recognise prostitution as a valid form of labour. The speeches are interspersed with images of nightclubs and strip clubs, as cis- and trans* sex workers perform their everyday actions (walking the streets) and more symbolic ones that seem to have been staged for the camera (one woman is seen next to some Brazilian flags, another catwalks for the camera). The film’s strength lies in the camera’s back-and-forth between indoor and outdoor environments, as this contrasts the reality of the women’s experience with the conventional imagery of their bodies on display in the streets, and allows Gutman to question commonplace beliefs about prostitution.