THE PROJECT

The primary outcome of  the GYNOCINE PROJECT: FEMINISMS, GENDERS AND CINEMAS directed by BARBARA ZECCHI, is to develop an open access online database that offers unique resources related to the production of  women filmmakers around the world. From the first generation of filmmakers who worked during the so called silent era and whose movies have disappeared, but who have left a significant trace through documents, photographs, film posters and reviews in film journals and in newspapers; and from the second generation of women  whose movies are in general only available in Film Archives in VHS or in 35mm format; to the third generation, that started to work during the feminist revolution and had to fight against a male dominated industry; the fourth generation —a larger group of women filmmakers who made critics talk about a women's boom behind the camera—; to, finally, the fifth generation: the production of contemporary film directors. 

This project provides biographical information about these filmmakers and gives access to  reviews of their films, journal and newspaper articles, to interviews and to a bibliography of scholarly works on the topic. 

The GynoCine Project offers the first comprehensive study of the history of women’s cinema from its origins to the present. By recovering a feminine presence behind the camera, this online database provides indispensable tools for rewriting the history of cinema, as well as the history of women.

The Gynocine Project started in 2011, thank to a University of Massachusetts Digital Humanities Initiative seed grant. While currently it comprises materials almost exclusively on directors, it will be expanded, at a later stage, to include women in all aspects of film production, such as movie stars, scriptwriters and producers.

What is GynoCine

To overcome the limitations of the terms “feminine cinema,” “feminist cinema,” “cinema by women” or “women’s cinema,” and to respond to the crisis of naming in feminist film criticism denounced by B. Ruby Rich, I named this corpus “gynocine.” I argue that, first, the new term gynocine avoids the connotations that are implicit in the adjective “feminist” and displaces them from the text to my interpretation. In other words, I am the one who is engendering this corpus through my feminist perspective. Gynocine is not necessarily feminist, but its interpretation is. Second, this term avoids mere biological limitations (that are implicit in the adjective "female"), because in order to belong to gynocine a film doesn’t have to be directed by a woman. It can be also “authored” by a man, if its scope is gynocentric and feminist. Third, if not all cinema is gynocine, and not all gynocine is feminist cinema, all films directed by women belong to gynocine, because all women, including those who explicitly distance themselves from feminism, cannot escape from a system of practices and institutions that discriminates in terms of sex-gender. Finally, gynocine also includes other “authors” since movies aren’t just created by their director. A screenwriter, or even an actor, can be considered as an  “author.”

Do you want to get involved in the project? Please click here