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Still from Some American Feminists (1980), directed by Luce Guilbeault, Nicole Brossard, and Margaret Wescott (courtesy Light Industry)

“If feminism means anything it’s diversity,” Rita Mae Brown, the author and poet, says in the opening moments of the documentary Some American Feminists. “I think there’s a lot of room and that we don’t have to take up these positions and then defend them as if our whole egos were on the line — which is exactly what men do.”

The ensuing film, screening Wednesday night at Light Industry, hones in on the various positions that were nevertheless taken up, fissuring second-wave feminism along lines of race, class, sexual orientation, and political affiliation. The 56-minute film, directed by Luce Guilbeault, Nicole Brossard, and Margaret Wescott, was shot in New York City in 1975 and 1976, but not released (by the Film Board of Canada) until 1980. It consists of a series of interwoven interviews with prominent feminist thinkers, including Ti-Grace Atkinson, Betty Friedan, Margo Jefferson, and Lila Karp (Jefferson will be on hand to introduce the film). These subjects’ commentaries — on everything from their respective moments of radicalization to the sexism of other social justice movements — are punctuated with candid, woman-on-the-street interviews. At a moment when the rights of all American feminists seem to be under attack as much as ever, this landmark of feminist cinema seems especially urgent. And for those who can’t make it, the entire film is on YouTube.

When: Wednesday, February 22 at 7:30pm ($8)
Where: Light Industry (155 Freeman Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

More info here.

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...