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Trailer Watch: Nina Menkes’s Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power

Independent filmmaker Nina Menkes (Queen of Diamonds, The Bloody Child, Phantom Love) returns with Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power, a documentary that uses clips from hundreds of films to demonstrate the pervasiveness of the male gaze in the dominant cinematic canon—and the real-world misogyny that Menkes believes these depictions abet. Originally conceived as a presentation that the filmmaker gave at film festivals or as stand-alone talks, the documentary takes images from films like Vertigo, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and Titane in order to make its argument. The film also features an array of prominent women and non-binary industry figures speaking to the issue, including Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Charlyne Yi, Joey Soloway, Catherine Hardwicke, Eliza Hittman, and Rosanna Arquette.

Menkes has long been a proponent of women’s rights, particularly as they pertain to the male-dominated media landscape. In 2017, she penned an article for Filmmaker entitled “The Visual Language of Oppression: Harvey Wasn’t Working in a Vacuum,” detailing the widespread abuse that has plagued the entertainment industry well before allegations against Weinstein became the catalyst for the #MeToo movement.

Brainwashed has its world premiere at Sundance earlier this year. It will be released theatrically by Kino Lorber on October 21, with engagements scheduled at DCTV’s New Firehouse Cinema in NYC and Laemmle in LA, with a national rollout to follow.

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