Directed by Nina Menkes
“If the camera is predatory, then the culture is predatory.” In this eye-opening documentary, celebrated independent filmmaker Nina Menkes explores the sexual politics of cinematic shot design. Using clips from hundreds of movies we all know and love – from Metropolis to Vertigo to Phantom Thread – Menkes convincingly makes the argument that shot design is gendered. Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power illuminates the patriarchal narrative codes that hide within supposedly “classic” set-ups and camera angles, and demonstrates how women are frequently displayed as objects for the use, support, and pleasure of male subjects. Building on the essential work of Laura Mulvey and other feminist writers, Menkes shows how these not-so-subtle embedded messages affect and intersect with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse and assault, as well as employment discrimination against women, especially in the film industry. The film features interviews with an all-star cast of women and non-binary industry professionals including Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Charlyne Yi, Joey Soloway, Catherine Hardwicke, Eliza Hittman, Maria Giese, and Rosanna Arquette. The result is an electrifying call-to-action that will fundamentally change the way you see, and watch, movies.
Reviews More Reviews
“Nina Menkes’ eye-opening documentary will forever change how you look at films.”
"A documentary for any woman who ever wanted, even for a moment, to throw a grenade at the canon."
"One of the top five films to see this fall!"
“An expansive documentary on the gendered nature of film language.”
“Menkes is a real no-bullshit breath of fresh air. With a torch. And with any luck, she’s heading your way to set fire to something, soon."
"Calls for a radical reinvention of how shots and film grammar are formulated. Viewers are meant to wrestle with this film, not passively consume a simple message — and they’ll leave invigorated.”
"Completely eye-opening. A needed reminder to pay closer attention.”
Awards & Festivals
Press & Exhibitors
Below please find additional information and promotional materials for this film. Use the buttons on the left to request to book this film for theatrical or educational/community screenings.
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- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Color: Color and B&W
|Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles||Los Angeles||CA||1668834000November 19 - November 20, 2022|
|Alexandria Film Festival||Alexandria||VA||1668229200November 12 - November 13, 2022|
|Austin Film Society||Austin||TX||1669870800December 1 - December 5, 2022|
|Belcourt Theatre||Nashville||TN||1670043600December 3 - December 9, 2022|
|Bryn Mawr Film Institute||Bryn Mawr||PA||1668574800November 16 - November 17, 2022|
|Cinema Arts Centre||Huntington||NY||1671080400December 15 - December 16, 2022|
|Cinema Moderne||Montreal||QC||1667534400November 4 - November 18, 2022|
|Cleveland Cinematheque||Cleveland||OH||1668661200November 17 - November 20, 2022|
|Crandell Theatre||Chatham||NY||1666497600October 23 - November 13, 2022|
|Dairy Arts Center||Boulder||CO||1672203600December 28 - December 31, 2022|
|DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema||New York||NY||1666324800October 21 - November 25, 2022|
|Denver Film / Sie FilmCenter||Denver||CO||1671166800December 16 - December 22, 2022|
|Facets||Chicago||IL||1670043600December 3 - December 11, 2022|
|Gateway Film Center||Columbus||OH||1668142800November 11 - December 2, 2022|
|Grand Illusion Cinema||Seattle||WA||1667361600November 2 - December 1, 2022|
|Guild Cinema||Albuquerque||NM||1666670400October 25 - October 28, 2022|
|Historic Howell Theater||Howell||MI||1667534400November 4 - November 11, 2022|
|Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema||Toronto||ON||1666929600October 28 - November 7, 2022|
|Laemmle Theatres||Los Angeles||CA||1666324800October 21 - November 25, 2022|
|Lumiere Cinema||Los Angeles||CA||1666929600October 28 - November 4, 2022|
|Metro Cinema||Edmonton||AB||1677474000February 27, 2023|
|Speed Art Museum||Louisville||KY||1668142800November 11 - November 14, 2022|
|Sudbury Indie Cinema||Sudbury||ON||1667970000November 9 - December 2, 2022|
|Suns Cinema||Washington||DC||1667970000November 9 - November 18, 2022|
|The New Parkway Theater||Oakland||CA||1667534400November 4 - November 25, 2022|
|VIFF Centre||Vancouver||BC||1666324800October 21 - October 29, 2022|