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Film Review: Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power
by Erin Huebscher

Nina Menkes, USA 2022

Equal parts distressing and enlightening, American writer-director Nina Menkes’ full-length documentary is an offshoot of her much-celebrated talk, “SEX AND POWER: THE VISUAL LANGUAGE OF OPPRESSION.” Examining the “male gaze” throughout the history of cinema, Menkes uses film clips from the 1940s-present to demonstrate how seemingly insignificant directorial choices, e.g., camera angles, camera movements, blocking, lighting, and framing, all contribute to the patriarchy that still permeates Hollywood today, despite the #MeToo movement.

While Menkes tends to over-exaggerate at times to prove her point, she does present powerful ways in which to move forward, cinematically speaking, so women aren’t all just seen as objects and men aren’t all just seen as subjects.