There's been a lot chatter in the vast, ever-opinionated movie blogosphere about the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's recently unveiled slate of films. Locally, the inclusion of Cincinnati native Todd Louiso's third directorial feature, Hello I Must Be Going, in the U.S. Dramatic competition is the most intriguing development.
But there's also another noteworthy local Sundance connection this week: Know Theatre is giving a 2011 Sundance film its Cincinnati premiere with a one-time screening 7 p.m. tonight (Dec. 7) in its space at 1120 Jackson St. in Over-the-Rhine. (Tickets are $10.) —-
Jennifer Siebel Newsom's call-to-arms documentary, Miss Representation, dissects how the portrayal of women in mainstream media impacts perceptions and often minimizes their ability to be taken seriously in positions of power — most recently represented by the often condescending or demeaning ways high-profile female politicians like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are treated. Or, as one female high school student in the film succinctly says about what dominants the conversation, “It's all about the body and not about the brain.”
Newsom weaves her own personal story as an ambitious woman — from her days as a successful scholar and athlete to the challenges of her acting career to having a baby — with a broader cultural lens, presenting a wide spectrum of talking heads who testify about the ways in which media, especially television and magazine advertising, influence how women are conditioned to think less of themselves and their place in society. And while Miss Representation throws out an avalanche of statistics to support its notion that women are selling themselves short, the film's most incisive moments arrive when numerous high school students, both male and female, talk about changing things in the future.
The Miss Representation screening also represents the unveiling of Know's “fancy movie screen and full sound system.” Which begs the question: Could this also be the start of a new, much-needed venue for smaller films that might otherwise bypass Cincinnati? Let's hope so.