Film depicts Black Lives Matter, #MeToo as new feminist wave
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The immediacy of the documentary genre is evident in "Not Done: Women Remaking America," which includes the unfolding possibility of the first black female vice president and the loss of Breonna Taylor.
The film features a strong female advocacy represented by Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and other 21st century movements that have built on and transcended past efforts.
"There's a newfound language that feminism can claim," says Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, in Tuesday's film debut on PBS (check local stations for time).
Or as Gloria Steinem puts it: "Now it's a majority and it's not apologetic. Now we know it's a revolution."
While the persistent feminist leader provides the context, the activists of this era take center stage. Among the voices: a teenage Indian woman, but already a seasoned activist with a global perspective - and gender trust.
"If I don't fight the climate crisis, I'm fighting for the rights of the indigenous people," says Tokata Iron Eyes in the film. "If I don't fight for indigenous rights, I'm still a brown person. And then I'm still a woman who's also like a superpower."
Not Done is a 2013 expansion of Makers: Women Who Make America, about the pursuit of equality for women in the late 20th century, and a follow-up series from 2014. There is also an ongoing Makers series -Initiative to move the matter forward.
"Part of what became apparent in our day was that women were back on the streets," said Sara Wolitzky, the film's director, after settling into complacency. There is an "awakening that sexism, racism and transphobia are entrenched" and collective action is required.
Women leading the prosecution are nothing new, although their work is often uncredited, Cullors said in an interview.
In the American civil rights movement, "the most visible men have always been ... I think there was an unfortunate prospect that women should contribute but not receive an award for the contribution we have made," she said.
In "Not Done," there's a who's who of activists, moving swiftly from the historic prologue to the country's roller coaster ride since Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton didn't smash the tallest, toughest glass ceiling.
Her 2016 defeat to Donald Trump fueled the statewide women's march, which quickly exposed the rifts that plagued the "second wave" feminism of the 1960s and 1970s: what critics viewed as a blinking focus on the problems of white women.
Before thousands of pink hats rocked through America's streets, the event, which was originally organized in white, was called up by women in color who gave her "a kind of side eye," says Linda Sarsour in the film.
"I'm supposed to follow like a bunch of white ladies who have never marched with us?" Was the reaction, she said. When Sarsour indicated the need to involve others, including Muslims, she was invited to join as a leader.
When it comes to sexual abuse, Not Done calls on Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of the New York Times to detail their coverage of the overthrow of Hollywood power broker Harvey Weinstein and that started years ago by Tarana Burke # Promoted the MeToo crusade.
America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, and other celebrities got involved (which led to the creation of the Time's Up initiative) and found an unlikely ally: the National Women's Farm Workers Association, who offered their support for a common problem.
"It was such a revolutionary act of love," says Ferrera in the film. "They saw great things in the past that split our experience in this world and chose solidarity."
There's a retelling of how Black Lives Matter was started by Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza after the Florida jury acquitted the man who killed teenage Trayvon Martin. The three founders insisted on combining feminism and racial justice.
"Patrisse, me and Opal were very clear from the beginning that we are all or none of us. Black women, black queers and transsexuals are disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system, police work, security, violence and damage issues," says Garza in the movie.
Not Done also tells of the violent hearing to confirm the Supreme Court candidate, Brett Kavanaugh, and the rise of female lawmakers. It ends with footage of Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris thanking "the heroic and ambitious women before me," and a portrait of the Kentucky Police Department who shot victim Taylor in the open air of an outdoor sports field.
While equality and justice are in full swing, there is cause for optimism, said Wolitzky.
"The only thing you know for sure is that all of the women we see in the film are incredibly brilliant, brave, and determined. Women are not going to give up," she said.
Lynn Elber can be reached at email@example.com and is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.
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