This is a review of Filmme Fatales #3 by Lou Heinrich.
Filmme Fatales: Issue #3 – the working girls edition
Editor: Brodie Lancaster
“Films have an inherent role that provides an avenue to inform society,” writes Angela McCormack for Filmme Fatales. “I've seen enough films that glorify women as dancers, performers, mothers, girlfriends and teachers. It's so obvious that we need to put more women on the screen to get them behind the camera.”
Yes, for every onscreen story told by a woman, there are five made by men. Mainstream movies normalise a world that often restricts women to traditional gender roles – yet not too many people broach this subject.
Filmme Fatales is a ground breaking zine which publishes intelligent and creative conversations about the women we see on screen, and discusses how the lessons we learn through pop culture echo in wider society.
In Issue #3 – the working girls edition, editor Brodie Lancaster opens by paying homage to our fave working gals: “From Bliss and Pash in Whip It, who wile away the hours at the Oink joint, day-dreaming about escaping their dull, suburban lives; to Annie in The Nanny Diaries who perfectly encapsulates the post-college funk...”
Lancaster sets the scene with a style typical of Filmme Fatales: light-hearted, but with a serious undertone. It's fun to talk about ladies on screen, but how they're represented, what they look like and what they do matters. It really matters.
Enclosed in the latest issue is a varied collection of voices, including a detailed observation on how Legally Blonde encouraged a generation of young women to take up law degrees.
Contributor Gemma Flynn writes, “Unfortunately, while pop culture has helped to fill law schools with a vibrant community of empowered women, the capital-drivel legal environment is oppressing them again by diluting their womanhood, their expressions of femininity and their freedom to procreate.”
New York director and editor Amelia Tovey allows us a peek into her inbox, with one-line excerpts from commercial scripts and smarmy conversations.
Anton de Ionno's memoir about hardcore adolescent fandom of The Babysitters Club is both moving and pretty LOLtastic: “You see, the Babysitters Club was the most prized, and exquisite square on the proverbial patchwork quilt that was my (super-gay) childhood.”
There is a bizarre fiction mash-up between Real Housewives and Pretty Woman in 'Cinda-fuckin-rella' by Katie Olson, and several reviews of notable films, exhibiting a refreshing alternative to Hollywood's trite gender reproductions. Admittedly, these films may have passed under your radar – included are David Lynch's 2006 work Inland Empire, Czech new wave film Daisies from 1966, and the more recent For A Good Time, Call..., a 'refreshingly progressive' illustration of sex work.
Filmme Fatales isn't just about the writing. There are funky illustrations, many of which mimic the shaky-handed, basic drawings of a child, lending a bare innocence to the pages. There is also a spectacular photo essay spread over the front and back covers, depicting the steely aggression of Northern Albania's burrnesha – women who “have assumed a male identity” in order to avoid the misogynistic rules of tribal law which originated 100 years ago.
Lancaster told Lip Mag earlier this year that Filmme Fatales is about exploring “the places where film and feminism intersect.” Also a staff writer for Rookie Mag, she wants to promote female perspectives not just on cinema, but the entire filmmaking industry.
Describing her publication, Lancaster says she uses “old-school zine rules (no advertising, no profit, small print runs, selling in distros or online, trading copies) only a little more spiffy and sophisticated.” The print format allows her to choose themes without having to consider page views or content marketing.
In its short history (Filmme Fatales has only been around since early 2013), the zine has attracted the attention of different celebs, and can now be bought in Singapore, as well as in Australia. It looks like the world is taking notice.
One thing that potential contributors should keep in mind is the DIY design (that may have taken inspiration from Rookie Mag). While it means that most of the articles have a creative format, the setting invokes an amateurish feel that detracts from perceived professionalism.
Lou Heinrich is a stone cold bibliophile who writes about pop culture and women. As well as being the Literature & Books Editor at Lip Mag, she drinks far too much earl grey, and celebrates life daily. Find Lou on twitter here.
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