September 29, 2016

Bath film festival goes Wild with F rating for feminist films

The Guardian

Ben Child

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Reese Witherspoon’s Wild is among 17 of the 42 films being shown at the 24th Bath film festival to be given an F rating for their strong female leads, directors or screenwritersBath Film Festival goes wild with F-rating for feminists films

A British film festival has introduced an F rating designed to highlight movies which boast feminist credentials.

Holly Tarquini, producer of the Bath film festival, said the rating had been inspired by last year’s decision by four Swedish cinemas to reward films which passed the Bechdel test with an A rating. Invented by the US cartoonist Alison Bechdel in her 1985 comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, the test asks if a movie features 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,” 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.”

Seventeen of the 42 films being shown at the 24th Bath film festival, which opens on 13 November, will receive the F rating. They include the first world war period drama Testament of Youth, based on Vera Brittain’s memoir, and director Jean-Marc Vallée’s true-life tale Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon as a woman who hikes more than 1,000 miles to come to terms with the death of her mother.

A report in March found Hollywood still marginalises women on screen to just 30% of speaking roles, despite the remarkable box-office success of films focused on female stars – such as Gravity, the Hunger Games saga and animated hit Frozen – in recent years. In May, a separate study found women filled just 26% of key behind-the-scenes roles – directors, producers, executive producers, writers, editors and cinematographers – in feature-length films shown at leading film festivals over the previous year.


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