Scuola Senza Fine – Adriana Monti (1983, 40 minutes)
Scuola Senze Fine (School Without End) was directed by Adriana Monti in collaboration with students from the adult education150 Hour Secondary School diploma course with whom she had been working for a year.
The 150 Hours Courses were an educational experiment implemented in Italy beginning in 1974, available to factory workers and farmers initially, and expanding to include women a couple of years later. The courses were non-vocational; they were not intended to improve one’s productivity at work, but rather to allow for personal and collective growth. The courses sought to help workers reflect not only upon their working conditions but also on their lives.
The film shows how the experiment extended into the lives of women taking the course, most of whom were housewives. The film was produced in collaboration with these students as part of their studies for the class, turning the curriculum’s questions about the representation of women into questions about the representation of themselves. After the group of former housewives had completed their 150-hour secondary school diploma course in 1976 they did not want to stop learning. With the help of their teacher, they formed a study and research group. Monti shot the film about them from 1979–1981, with the first half of it being made collectively by the group.
Privilege – Yvonne Rainer (1990, 103 minutes)
Privilege, directed by Yvonne Rainer, is seemingly a straight-forward documentary in which women are interviewed about their experience of the menopause – a subject that has been virtually invisible on film. With a cast of characters the film takes on intersectionality exploring sexual identity, disability, race, gender, age and class. Jenny, the white middle-aged protagonist agrees to be interviewed by Rainer’s onscreen double Yvonne, an African-American friend who is making a documentary on menopause (Rainer is white). Her candid observations are punctuated by a ‘hot flash-back’ of Rashomon-like intensity which reveals an experience she has kept secret for 25 years. Yvonne extracts from Jenny’s tale a skein of hidden themes, such as the prevalence of rape and domestic violence; racism in law, housing, and personal attitudes; the sexualization of women’s personal identities; and the role of class and economic power in reinforcing these and other forms of injustice.
This screening is part of a programme of films presented by the exhibition Relating Narratives at The Horse Hospital exploring the way in which women look to other women – friends, sisters, mothers, writers, poets, – to construct an alternative register within which to situate themselves and mediate their relationship with the world. The programme presents films made by women about women.