Tuesday, 7 March 2017

International Women's Day

As I am unable to not miss work I will find something red to wear (somehow) in solidarity for women all over the world taking part in A Day Without Women. But I knew this year I knew I needed to make a bigger mark on International Women's Day and what better way to do this than by celebrating women at a Bechdel Test Fest screening. Double screening by the way.

The two films picked for the epic double screening was...

9 to 5 begins with varies women on their way to work to the fantastic song by Dolly Parton (who also stars). Jane Fonda is Judy, the new girl lady in the office having neede work after her divorce. She quickly becomes friends with Lily Tomlin's Violet, a hardworking, amazingly sarcastic straight talking veteran of the company yet she is still refused a promotion and has trained most of the managers. It is pretty obvious from the moment you meet him that their boss, Mr Hart is an awful person, 'a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot'. He is also sexually harassing his assistant, Doralee constantly and starts telling people that he's sleeping with her. But after all three women storm out of the office after being mistreated or witnessing his treatment, they all get drunk and bond. They dream up ways to kill the boss and laugh about it the next day. But when Violet accidently puts rat poison in Mr Hart's coffee, things take a hilarious turn involving picking up the wrong corpse at the hospital, chaining Mr Hart up in his house for weeks and blackmailing him, all the while making improvements around the office. Its a fantastic film and very funny. Even though it was released in 1980, this could, with a few adjustments, could be a modern story. What's great about the characters is that they stick together to achieve something creative and that helps others too. There is even a dig about equal pay and how they'll tackle that problem next. But the sting is that women are still paid less than men in America.

Working Girl was better the second time around and thats mainly to do with the cinema. The big screen is always better. Melaine Griffith is Tess, who lives in Staten Island and takes the ferry to work as stockbroker's secretary. She has been working hard for years, going to night school to get her degree and reads newspapers, doing her own research and reading up about the companoes different clients. After she tricked into a 'meeting' with her bosses sleazy friend, she humiliates him and gets reassigned to work for Katherine, Sigourney Weaver, a privilaged executive in acquisitions. She seems to want to help Tess and encourages her believe in herself and work hard but when Tess presents an idea that turns out to be a stroke of genius, Katherine tries to pass it off as one of her own. But before she does this, she breaks her leg while on holiday and isn't able to return to work for a few weeks. Tess discovered this betrayal and decides to take a shot and run with her idea. Again, this film is great and empowers women but as pointed out by Celluloid Sorceress, it could also show women in a bad light, saying women only get to the top by 'throwing another woman under the bus', which is rather true. There are a couple of lines at the end of the film that I re-thought about and decided that the scene could have been written differently. Women bringing down women is a problem and is alwats been something that is used against us. Women can help each other and it would be nice to see this shown in film more often.

These two film go well together. I had seen Working Girl once before but never 9 to 5. Presented by Bechdel Test Fest and Celluloid Sorceress, the films were sandwiched together with a couple of lightening talks were Simran Hans (BTF) and Rebecca Nicole Williams (Celluloid Sorceress) talked about the films. It was brought up that although the two films were made almost a decade apart, the issues and challenges that the women face hadn't changed. I actually said to my friend during 9 to 5 that the office bs that goes happened to me at one of my more recent jobs.

Screened at The Pheonix cinema in East Finchly, which was treat as I have never been. Fantastic old fashioned looking cinema and an adorable little cafe with a balcony, makes me think its good to get out of the comfort and easy to travel to zone.



  1. The screening sounds like so much fun! I wish I could've been there. I love both of these films so much, and agree about parts of the ending to Working Girl not working very well with Tess and Katharine throwing each other under the bus. It'd be a perfect movie if those little kinks could've been worked out but it's still really enjoyable.

  2. Well in the end Tess is so nice to her secretary but yeah Sigourney was kinda shown to be the Devil woman here :)