Yvonne Rainer – Privilege, 1990, 103mins / 1hr, 40mins.
Film Format: 16mm / DVD, Color and B&W
Yvonne Rainer’s sixth feature is a genuinely subversive movie about menopause. Out of a subject that has been virtually invisible on film, Rainer has fashioned a witty, risky work about sexual identity and the unequal economies of race, gender and class. Privilege is an intelligently conceived, boldly anarchic, and wickedly insightful exposition on the culturally ingrained and socially divisive malaise of isms that artificially define and characterize empowerment in contemporary society: ageism, sexism, economic elitism, and racism. Rainer conveys texture through the inter-cutting of archival footage, video, and film – as well as compositional layering through the film-within-a-film structure, elliptical (and self-referential) fusion of past and present, and the filmmaker’s idiosyncratic penchant for superimposed typed text.
When Yvonne Rainer made her first feature-length film in 1972, she had already influenced the world of dance and choreography for nearly a decade. From the launch of her film career Rainer has inspired audiences to think about what they see, intermingling the real and fictional, the personal and political, the concrete and abstract in imaginative, unpredictable ways. Her bold feminist sensibility and often controversial subject matter, leavened with a quirky humour, has made her, one of the most influential American avant-garde filmmaker in recent decades, with an impact as evident in London or Berlin as in New York.