Quand les femmes filment l'Histoire: Histoire d'un secret (Mariana Otero, 2003)
Author: Rollet, Brigitte
Source: Studies in French Cinema, Volume 10, Number 3, August 2010 , pp. 257-267(11)
Abstract:Women filmmakers' contribution to documentary started in France from the post-war period onwards and their films have been extremely varied in their topics as well in their forms. Seen as a political weapon in the 1970s, women's documentaries dealt mostly with the present and the contemporary, while portraits of figures from the past especially artists are more prevalent in the following decade. In the 1990s with the return of political films, there seems to be a blurring between documentary and fiction with characters rather than the more traditional witness. The articulation between the private and the political, so prevalent in the entre-deux-mai period, comes back, albeit in a different form in films made from the mid-1990s. This article will concentrate on Mariana Otero's Histoire d'un secret (2003), which seems to be at the crossroads of most tendencies of women's documentaries made in France since the war: it is the portrait of a talented artist, but it is also and above all a denunciation of the secrets surrounding the death of thousands of women each year from the consequences of illegal abortion in the 1960s and 1970s. I shall also analyse how the film expresses the invisibility and secrecy of women's suffering, the dilemma it raises for visual representation, and its renewed conception of the personal (the artist was the director's mother) as political.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of London Institute in Paris.
Publication date: August 1, 2010
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