Sarah Turner

Ecology; Perestroika


Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for



Derek Jarman

Consolation Service


Eija Llisa Ahtilla

Garden, The


Derek Jarman

Happy Together


Wong Kar Wai

Johanna D'Arc of Mongolia


Ulrike Ottinger

Light Reading


Lis Rhodes

Present, The

Eija Liisa Ahtilla

River, The


Tsai Ming Liang

Syndromes and a Century


Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Vendredi Soir


Claire Denis


Feminist experimental film has consistently been concerned with the interplay between two apparently irreconcilable tensions: narration and abstraction. It is an experiential cinema that prioritises the affectual. All of these films/filmmakers are ‘daughters of Deren’. Maya Deren’s ideas of a ‘pyramid’ or ‘vertical’ reading inflects all of these works. On Meshes of the Afternoon, Deren writes: ‘with each repetition small changes expand the spectator’s imaginary construction of the symbolic space rather like a spiral through a matrix of action images... Each ‘version’ of the action is reviewed by the next – not replacing it by a more definitive version but deepening the experiential references in a cumulative transformation.’

Much of the formal innovation that has consistently been present within the feminist avant garde precisely foregrounds the tension between narration and abstraction; it is a formal strategy which has made a unique contribution to film language (and which, to date, is perhaps under explored).

It is also in the experience of the ‘social’, an interplay through an embodied battle with conflictual languages: meaning is created in the space between language and image and embodiment is equally key here.

“Meaning is not in things but in between” – Lis Rhodes, Pictures on Pink Paper.

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