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Nina Menkes

Sex and Power: The Visual Language of Oppression

A Cinematic Talk | Opening Night Keynote Presentation

Virtual | Ohio Premiere

Nina Menkes sits on stage and watches a black and white film scene that depicts a woman's face up close.

Join pioneering filmmaker Nina Menkes for this thought-provoking talk that examines how the techniques of Hollywood cinema have long been used to reinforce a culture of misogyny.

Since the 1980s Nina Menkes has been a cinematic feminist pioneer and one of America’s foremost and radical independent filmmakers, known for such remarkable works as Queen of Diamonds (1991) among others. As the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, Menkes wrote an article titled “The Visual Language of Oppression: Harvey Wasn’t Working in a Vacuum” that went viral for Filmmaker Magazine. This was her first effort in showing how the exposure of sexual abuse and assault revelations throughout Hollywood revealed a behavior supported and encouraged by a complicit visual culture that underpins both the actions of the perpetrators and the shame and silence of the victims.

Menkes has since developed this line of thinking into the presentation Sex and Power: The Visual Language of Oppression. Using film clips from the golden age of Hollywood to the present (including films by Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Alfred Hitchcock, and many others), she shows how ideas about women have become unconsciously embedded in our heads by the visual language of cinema—through lighting, framing, camera angles, and movement—and how these contribute to sexual intimidation and discrimination. (program approx. 80 mins., livestream)

View the complete Unorthodocs 2020 lineup.

Nina Menkes sits on stage and watches a black and white film depicting a woman's face that fills the frame.

Photo by Hugo Wong

On stage, Nina Menkes demonstrates how woman and men are lit in film.

Photo by Hugo Wong

 Nina Menkes gestures as she talks on stage.

Photo by Hugo Wong

Nina Menkes sits on stage and watches a black and white film scene depicting a woman in a bathing suit from a top-down camera angle.

Photo by Hugo Wong

Organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by Associate Curator of Film/Video Chris Stults.

Greater Columbus Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
L Brands Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Huntington Bank
Nationwide Foundation

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Kaufman Development
Cardinal Health Foundation


Past Film/Video

Nina Menkes