Woman in Revolt
A Podcast About Women in Film & TV

E17 Saint Omer was snubbed at the Oscars

"Saint Omer" is based on Alice Diop's experience attending the real life trial of Fabienne Kabou. In the film, Rama (Kayije Kagame), Diop’s stand-in, attends the trial of Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanda), a woman accused of murdering her 15-month-old daughter, Elise. Long, extended courtroom scenes are interspersed with snippets of Rama’s life (in present day and flashback) and the town of Saint-Omer. There are many parallels between Rama and Laurence, both Black women currently living in the country (France) that once colonized their origin country (Senegal). They both have/had white male partners, difficult relationships with their mothers, and intelligence that many dumb white people find surprising. The film links their stories and shows how Rama understands Laurence, through both her own lens of experience and the story of Medea, which she is working on retelling as part of an academic project.

Other shit you should check out:

E16 Joanna Hogg's "Souvenir" Trilogy is a GD Delight!

The “Souvenir” films follow a character named Julie, a filmmaker who grew up in Norfolk as the only child in a posh, uppercrust family with parents played by Tilda Swinton and James Spencer Ashworth. The character is loosely autobiographical, which is something Joanna Hogg has discussed in several interviews. All of the old, Super 8 footage featured in the films comes from Hogg’s own time in film school and Julie’s Knightsbridge flat In the first two films of the trilogy is a recreation of Hogg’s own flat at that time (among several other parallels).

Julie, played by Honor Swinton Byrne, lives in London and attends film school. The first film centers around Julie’s relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke), a guy she meets at a party and grows increasingly attached to despite many glaring red flags. At the end of the film, he dies of a heroin overdose. In “The Souvenir Part II,” Julie starts processing her grief through a new, feature-length film about her relationship with Anthony. While the first film is more about her relationship and how it affects her artistic ambitions, the second film is centered around those artistic ambitions and how she melds them with her personal life for both self understanding and a form of therapy. The third film, “The Eternal Daughter,” shows Julie, now much older and played by Tilda Swinton, on vacation with her mother, Rosalind (also played by Swinton), at a hotel that was once her family home.

Other shit you should check out:

Sadly, Joanna Hogg's mom has passed. Hogg makes a reference to her being alive in the 2022 Roger Ebert interview, but I think she's talking about in 2015, not present day. This LA Times piece says she died during editing of "The Eternal Daughter."

E15 Tár is not as smart as it thinks it is

Tár is about a super important and revered conductor (EGOT, principal conductor for the Berlin Orchestra, blah blah) named Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett). She’s one of those tightly wound type-A people who want everything to be perfect and expects those around her to make it that way. She comes off as a tightly wound narcissist and really only shows pure emotion toward her daughter, Petra, whom she shares with her wife, Sharon (Nina Hoss), the orchestra’s concertmaster. Slowly, over the course of the film, you begin to realize that Lydia abuses the young women around her, stringing them along with promises of career advancement so she can enjoy them sexually or just take advantagement of their time and talent. Her personal assistant, Francesca (Noémie Merlant) puts up with a ton of crazy shit in hopes of becoming assistant conductor someday. Her wife ignores her affairs with other women because she likes being Lydia’s right hand woman … her confidant and trusted advisor. One woman, Krista, who we only ever see from behind and in Lydia’s anxiety nightmares, apparently stepped out of line and suffered dire career consequences as a result. When she commits suicide and accusations surface, Lydia spirals downward and loses all the prestige she worked so hard to gain.

Other shit you should check out:

E14 Holidaze: "Black Christmas" 1974 vs. 2019

The OG “Black Christmas” is a 1974 Canadian horror film written by A. Roy Moore and directed by Bob Clark (Yes the same guy who made “A Christmas Story”). It’s about a sorority house right before the Christmas holidays when everyone is in good spirits, drinking and partying before they leave campus for break. Four sisters and their den mother, Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman), are left in the house after a party when they start receiving creepy phone calls from someone they refer to as “the moaner.” He’s apparently been calling the house for a while and saying garbled, often sexual things to whoever answers. By the end of the film, this mysterious figure will have infiltrated the house and killed all of the women but one: Jess (​​Olivia Hussey), who spent much of the film defending her decision to abort an unwanted pregnancy that her boyfriend, Peter (Keir Dullea), wants to keep. There’s a breathtaking scene toward the end of the film where everyone else is dead and Jess, who has barely escaped the killer, flees to the basement. From outside, she hears Peter, calling to her sweetly, confused as to why she won’t answer him. When he breaks the window and enters the room, Jess hides, panicked and afraid, convinced he may be the killer. In the final act, we learn that Jess has bludgeoned Peter to death. As she lies sedated in her bed after the cops and paramedics have mostly packed up and left, we see the killer, still at large, lurking around the house and disappearing into the attic. It’s a film that’s about women being observed and harassed with no one to turn for help but themselves.

The 2019 remake is written by April Wolfe and Sophia Takal and directed by Takal. The premise is the same, but with some key differences:

  • The protagonist, Riley (Imogen Poots), was raped by a frat bro named Brian (Ryan McIntyre) and is dealing with trauma + rage over being dismissed/not believed by men
  • The women are being hunted by multiple men in hooded robes … there is a supernatural twist where the men hunting them are possessed by Calvin Hawthorne and commanded to do whatever it takes to control women Instead of phone calls to the sorority house, the women receive text messages from Calvin Hawthorne, the founder of the school and presumably some old racist fuckwit. The title card at the beginning of the film gives this quote by him: “Man possesses powers so formidable they can only be considered supernatural. With a proper education, men can wield these powers and go forth into the world.”

  • There are two final girls: Riley and Kris (Aleyse Shannon) who actually figure out what’s going on and get revenge

Other shit we mentioned:

E13 Holidaze: 'Home for the Holidays' & 'Happiest Season'

“Home for the Holidays” is a 1995 film written by W. D. Richter (based on a story by Chris Radant) and directed by Jodie Foster. It’s about a woman named Claudia (Holly Hunter) who loses her art restoration job at a museum before going from Chicago to Baltimore to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Her parents, played by Anne Bancroft (who is fantastic) and Charles Durning, are well-meaning but kind of suffocating and not super attuned to what’s going on with their children. Her brother, Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.), is gay and seems to use immature humor as a coping mechanism while with his family. His longtime boyfriend isn’t with him and Claudia assumes this means they’ve broken up. Instead of his boyfriend, he brings some guy he works with named Leo Fish (Dylan McDermott), home. Claudia assumes they are together and treats Leo with a heavy dose of skepticism. Claudia and Tommy’s sister, Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson) is a super judgmental homophobe who is unhappy with her life and treats everyone else like garbage as a result. Family tensions collide at Thanksgiving dinner, but there is of course a happy ending. It turns out that Leo is not Tommy’s boyfriend, but a friend who saw a picture of Claudia and wanted to meet her. The movie ends with Leo boarding Claudia’s flight back to Chicago and asking if they can spend more time together. We also find out that Tommy is actually married to his longtime boyfriend but didn’t want to subject him to the madness of his family at Thanksgiving. It’s one of those movies that is not super compelling plot-wise but has a lot of great, small moments thanks in great part to the cast. It’s also fun to see actors like Claire Danes, who plays Claudia’s daughter, and Steve Guttenberg, who plays Joanne’s husband, pop up briefly.

“Happiest Season” is a 2020 film written by Mary Holland (based on a story by Clea DuVall, who also directed). It’s about a Pittsburgh couple named Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) who have been dating for a while and decide to spend Christmas together for the first time. Harper invites Abby, whose parents are both dead, to her family’s house but neglects to mention that they don’t know she’s gay until they are already en route. Not only does she ask Abby to pretend they’re just roommates, she also requests that she pretend to be straight. As you can imagine, this creates several toxic, uncomfortable scenarios for Abby, who spends most of the movie floundering around, neglected, while Harper panders to her pretentious, narcissistic parents (played by Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber), fights with her competitive sister (Alison Brie), and flirts with her ex-boyfriend (Jake McDorman) who shows up everywhere. Abby’s only allies are her hilarious friend, John (Dan Levy), and Riley (Aubrey Plaza), one of Harper’s high school ex-girlfriends who was also damaged by her dishonesty. Despite the total shit show that Abby is forced to endure, Harper does eventually come out to her parents and the film ends with everyone magically happy and smiling one year later. Harper and Abby are engaged and the whole blended family (including John) is at the movies together as some horribly cheesy song plays.

Other shit we mentioned:

E12 Teen Favorites: 'Teen Witch' With Candace Jane Opper

Louise (Robyn Lively) is a high school student who longs to be one of the cool kids but is teased or ignored by everyone … until she turns sixteen and finds out she’s a witch. With her new powers and the help of her psychic mentor, Madame Serena (Zelda Rubinstein), Louise has the ability to get everything she’s ever wanted. But do love and acceptance hold the same weight when they’re not earned organically? This kooky '80s movie has everything you could ever want: boys throwing footballs in midriff hoodies, rap battles between white people, choreographed musical numbers, one extremely overzealous child actor, and a classroom full of teens shouting “CONDOMS, CONDOMS.” It’s like a proto-”Jawbreaker” mixed with “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Sixteen Candles.” It is batshit crazy, defies genre, and is something I would have watched 10,000 times had I seen it at the right age.

Here are some things we mentioned during the episode that we think you should check out:

For some reason, we never talked about the movie poster, which features Louise riding a broom even though this is something she never does in the film. As far as we know, she's not that kind of witch. The '80s were fucking weird and I wish I was around for more of them.

E11 New French Extremity: 'Trouble Every Day' With Dr. Kate Robertson

“Trouble Every Day” (2001), co-written by Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau and directed by Denis, follows the intersecting stories of two couples: Léo (Alex Descas) and Coré (Beatrice Dalle) Semeneau and Shane (Vincent Gallo) and June (Tricia Vessey) Brown. Shane and Léo previously met on a research expedition to the South American jungle in search of a plant that would lead to a breakthrough in neurobiology. Léo led the expedition and Shane was there on behalf of a US pharmaceutical company. When the film begins, the Browns are on their honeymoon in Paris, but we eventually learn that it’s all just an excuse so that Shane can find Léo. It turns out that at some point, Shane was infected with the disease that Léo is working to solve through his research and that his own wife, Coré also suffers from. The disease creates an unquenchable hunger in its host, compelling them to fuck, murder, and consume people. Eventually, Shane finds the Semeneau house, but Léo isn’t there … it’s just Coré, alone, covered in blood, and wandering around in a daze.

While I was able to summarize it, this isn’t the type of film that has a clear plot with spelled out motivations. Many questions are left unanswered and certain story threads never quite come together. The film is less about a linear narrative and more about feelings, overarching themes, and fleeting impressions.

Here are some things we mentioned during the episode that we think you should check out:

Other films we recommend watching if "Trouble Every Day" piqued your interest:

  • "In My Skin" (Marina de Van, 2002) -- Lindsay's favorite NFE
  • "The Addiction" (Abel Ferrara, 1995) -- Young Edie Falco!
  • "Dressed to Kill" (Brian De Palma, 1980)
  • "Shivers" (David Cronenberg, 1975)
  • "Un Chien Andalou" (Luis Buñuel, 1929)
  • "Cat People" (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)
  • "Poison" (Todd Haynes, 1991)
  • "Raw" and "Titane" (Julia Ducournau, 2016 and 2021)
  • "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)
  • "Caché" (Michael Haneke, 2005)
  • "Fat Girl" (Catherine Breillat, 2001)
  • "The Hunger" (Tony Scott, 1983)
  • "After Midnight" (Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella, 2019)
  • "Spring" (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, 2014)
  • "Crimson Peak" (Guillermo del Toro, 2015) -- Mia Wasikowska!

E10 Video Nasty: 'The Witch Who Came from the Sea'

TW: child sexual abuse by a parent

In "The Witch Who Came from the Sea" (1976), written by Robert Thom and directed by Matt Cimber, Molly (Millie Perkins) confronts her childhood trauma in unsettling and destructive ways. Through flashbacks and conversations with her sister, Cathy (Vanessa Brown), we learn that the sea captain father Molly idolizes was actually an abusive piece of shit. Unable to acknowledge the reality of her childhood, Molly creates a fictional world in her head that begins to splinter when her own violent impulses take form. Based on the poster and the film's video nasty status, I expected something titillating that favors style over substance. Instead, I got a character-driven meditation on the downsides of trying to compartmentalize abuse.

Here are some things we mentioned during the episode and/or that we think you should check out:

Assorted fun facts that we didn't get to mention:

  • Matt Cimber is the co-creator and director of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) professional wrestling promotion and syndicated television series (the OG, not the Netflix show).
  • Robert Thom wrote the scripts for four of the most significant and best of the drive-in exploitation movies: 1968's “Wild in the Streets” (Barry Shear), 1970's “Bloody Mama” (Roger Corman), 1975's “Death Race 2000” (Paul Bartel), and 1975's “Crazy Mama” (Jonathan Demme).
  • Young Molly (Verkina Flower) and Molly’s dad (George 'Buck' Flower) were played by real life father and daughter. George ‘Buck’ Flower was also the casting director and known for playing a lot of drunk/homeless roles. He previously worked with Matt Cimber on “The Candy Tangerine Man” (1975) and had a cameo in almost every ‘80s John Carpenter movie. Verkina Flower went on to act in other drive-in exploitation films but then started working more steadily as a costume designer. Notably, she was a wardrobe supervisor for a few episodes of Nickelodeon's “All That” in the early aughts.
  • The Boathouse restaurant was also featured in “Funny Girl” (1968), “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (1969), “The Sting” (1973), “Forrest Gump” (1994) and “The Majestic” (2001).
E9 Video Nasty: 'Possession'
E8 Queer Horror: 'Alucarda'
E7 Teen Favorites: 'Tender Mercies'
E6 Teen Favorites: 'Jawbreaker'
E5 30th Anniversary: 'A League of Their Own'
E4 Queer Classics: 'The Watermelon Woman'
E3 Deep Dive: Maila Nurmi AKA Vampira
E2 Recent TV: 'Conversations with Friends'