In honour of LGBTQ+ History month 2022, third-year BA Film Studies students are providing a series of weekly reviews that capture this year’s theme of Politics In Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’. Next up, Dykes, Camera, Action! – A Celebration of Lesbians on Screen by Aoife Ranyell.
Women have always been marginalised within the filmmaking world – struggling to find a voice or a break in the male-dominated landscape. For lesbian and queer women, this is even more true. Although, thanks to a trailblazing group of female filmmakers and the 90’s New Queer Cinema movement, queer women have used their voices and made themselves visible.
Dykes, Camera, Action! is American filmmaker, Caroline Berler’s, first ever feature-length documentary film, showcasing the history of lesbian and queer cinema, told by the pioneering women who made it happen. Barbara Hammer, Cheryl Dunye, Yoruba Richen, Rose Troche, Desiree Akhavan, and many more, sit down and tell insightful first-hand stories of their lives and what motivated them to get involved with film – whether that was the social and political climate of the time, or frustration of not seeing accurate representation of queer identities on screen.
At its core, this is simply a very comforting and encouraging film to watch. The 61-minute runtime flies by and, to be honest, I could’ve easily watched another whole hour of it. If you’re already well-versed in the world of lesbian cinema, this film will reveal nothing ground-breaking, but it is still a very valuable watch and an excellent entry point to the genre if you’re new. It is so heartening to see women unapologetically talking about and celebrating the things that they love and enjoy: filmmaking, the queer films they love and hate, art, social activism, and (of course) other women. I recommend getting your notes app on hand (or a pen and paper, if you’re old school) to make note of the various films that they talk about.
Kanopy Further Viewing:
- The Watermelon Woman(1996) – Dir. Cheryl Dunye.
- The New Black(2013) – Dir. Yoruba Richen.
- Princess Cyd(2017) – Dir. Stephen Cone.
UWE LGBQT+ History Month event: Screening of Rebel Dykes (2021) at Arnolfini on 19 February 2022, open to UWE staff and students.