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Recently restored feminist documentary 'Year of the Woman' to play at IU Cinema



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The documentary "Year of the Woman" will be screened at 7 p.m. Monday at the IU Cinema. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

A recently restored version of the film “Year of the Woman” will be screened at 7 p.m. Monday at IU Cinema.

The 1973 documentary was created by first-time filmmaker, poet and journalist Sandra Hochman alongside an all-female crew.

The filmmakers documented as well as participated in the radical interventions of the Women’s Movement at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Hochman, who believed media personalities like Walter Cronkite weren't fairly covering women candidates, wore a giant plaster crocodile mask in response to the media’s “crocodile tears.” The film challenges the media on the limited coverage African American Democratic presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm.

The film played for only five nights in 5th Avenue Cinema in New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1973. Carmel Curtis, a film digitization specialist at the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive, said the actual celluloid film print was then held in the Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility as a part of Hochman’s collection of papers.

The film has been preserved in climate-controlled temperatures in the ALF, as film degrades over time and high temperatures or humidity can accelerate that degradation.

“It’s really incredible that IU has invested into amazing climate-controlled storage conditions,” Curtis said. “So this film, even though it hadn’t been seen for a long time, it wasn’t degrading at an accelerated rate.”

Curtis said that Rachael Stoeltje, the director of the Moving Image Archive, has been working hard to archive, preserve and conserve this film over the last decade. She said it was difficult to get the resources to give the film the restoration it needed.

But through the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative at IU, they were able to digitize and restore the film. This restored version of the film is the version that will be shown at the cinema.

“We really wanted to bring it to IU to highlight the work from this project,” Curtis said. “But we also wanted to elevate the conversation around women’s rights.”

Following the screening of the film, the Monroe County Indiana Chapter of the National Organization for Women will facilitate a post-screening discussion at the cinema. Curtis said the discussion will cover reactions to the film, historical context and the contemporary state of politics.

“This really combines this opportunity to explore the crossover between arts and politics, and to let both sides of those thrive off of each other,” Curtis said.

Curtis said this newly restored version of the film has been played at the Film Forum in New York once, but she is excited for it to be screened in Bloomington.

“The fact that this film has been stored with the Lilly Library in the ALF and now is able to be shared with IU Bloomington communities is a really great example of how preservation and access can go hand in hand,” Curtis said.

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