September 29, 2016

The new ‘F’ for feminism film rating: a good idea?

Marie Claire

A new way to identify films with feminist credentials has been introduced at the Bath Film Festival

Hollywood has long talked about the lack of female representation in movies along with a shortage of writers, directors and multi-dimensional roles for women.

In an attempt to highlight the issue of gender bias and, hopefully, spark debate, the 24th Bath Film Festival has introduced a new ‘F’ rating for films that have feminist credentials.

The rating will be given to films that have strong female leads, a female director or screenwriter, or feature women’s issues.

The idea goes one step further from the Bechdel test which was developed by the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, and asks whether a piece of fiction has at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

‘When we looked into it more, there were lots of films that didn’t pass [the Bechdel test] but should because they have amazingly strong female protagonists,’ festival producer Holly Tarquini told The Independent. ‘So Gravity, for example, doesn’t pass it because Sandra Bullock doesn’t talk to any other women, and yet she’s clearly an amazing female lead.

‘We wanted to take it a step further and highlight films which either had a senior figure in production who was female – a director or a screenwriter – or had very strong female leads or women’s issues.’

Out of 42 films being shown at the 10-day festival, only seventeen are F-rated. They include Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon (watch the trailer below), Testament of Youth, starring Alicia Vikander.

Critics are bound to have their say about this new rating system, but if it’s sparking debate about gender bias in the film industry, we’re all for it.

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