Films about the female image?
June 18, 2009 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Do you know of any recent films - documentary or fiction, short or long - that have to do with the topic of idealized women's images, photo retouching, body/appearance enhancement, or related topics? Thanks.
posted by Miko to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Jesse Epstein has created three short documentaries on these topics that may yet turn into a full-length feature. (Previously.)
posted by maudlin at 1:31 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lovely and Amazing, 2001, fiction - too old? Not specific enough?
posted by rainbaby at 1:32 PM on June 18, 2009

It may be slightly tangential to your subject but the film Supersize She about a female body builder is fascinating.
posted by bitdamaged at 1:32 PM on June 18, 2009

You know, I just caught the end of Death Becomes Her on cable the other night, and couldn't help but think how prescient it was.
posted by mkultra at 1:35 PM on June 18, 2009

Not a film, but the Dove Evolution commercial always gives me goosebumps.
posted by degrees_of_freedom at 1:36 PM on June 18, 2009

Documentary: "The Human Face" Part 3 - Beauty. Link goes to first part out of 6 on Youtube. Narrated by John Cleese!
posted by Petrot at 1:37 PM on June 18, 2009

Dreamworlds? It's been around for a while, but version 3 is pretty new. It examines "the stories contemporary music videos tell about girls and women, and encourages viewers to consider how these narratives shape individual and cultural attitudes about sexuality. "
posted by scodger at 1:38 PM on June 18, 2009

Western Eyes
Dying to Be Thin
posted by Rykey at 1:39 PM on June 18, 2009

The Devil Wears Prada, fiction obviously, and set in the fashion industry. Can't say it delivers a really positive message, from what I recall.
posted by yawper at 1:41 PM on June 18, 2009

Shallow Hal.
posted by iviken at 1:48 PM on June 18, 2009

Killing Us Softly 3 is about 10 years old, so it probably doesn't qualify as "recent" but it is pretty much exactly about the topics you outlined.
posted by iminurmefi at 2:01 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Orlan: Carnal Art is pretty much a must-see on this topic.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:03 PM on June 18, 2009

Awful Plastic

Not as awful as it sounds.
posted by vincele at 2:14 PM on June 18, 2009

You might want to try this one;

THE STRENGTH TO RESIST: Media's Impact on Women and Girls.

Also, I believe my instructor showed us "Killing Us Softly" by Jean Kilbourne which was a very good video about women's portrayal in magazines (although if I remember correctly it was from the late 70's or early 80's, but the messages were even more anti-feminist back then)

Beyond Killing Us Softly and Killing Us Softly 3 are also highly recommended and there's more information on the most recent version here.
posted by Khazk at 2:18 PM on June 18, 2009

I don't know if you're aware of the Women Make Movies site already?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:25 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yep, Jean Kilbourne is the one you'd probably want to look at. Her videos are awesome. Lots of examples and she's got a pretty good speaking voice. Check out this link instead for a 5min sample (or full-length low quality evaluation) of the whole Killing Us Softly 3
posted by Khazk at 2:28 PM on June 18, 2009

Response by poster: The Jesse Epstein documentary happens to fit my project perfectly, so I marked it as best answer -- but all of these are excellent suggestions. And thanks for that Women Make Movies site, Sidhedevil.I remember Jean Kilbourne from college, too, and she's terrific - just wanted something that feels very up to date for a particular program I'm working on.

I can't say how very much I appreciate all of your knowledge and willingness to pipe in. Great resources here - I knew this was the place to ask. This really helps! Thanks!
posted by Miko at 3:04 PM on June 18, 2009

Seconding "Lovely and Amazing." There's one devastating scene where Emily Mortimer asks her boyfriend (who I think was some kind of producer or photographer) for an honest assessment of her body. He tells her exactly what her flaws are and how to work on them. (And, of course, it's Emily Mortimer--there aren't any flaws.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:29 PM on June 18, 2009

Not exactly what you asked because they are websites, but one must mention

Awful Plastic just what is claims to be, except not so awful.


Go Fug Yourself
-- about fashion.

Good examples if you can use a broader definition of media
posted by vincele at 6:12 PM on June 18, 2009

It's fictional, but this (photoshopping women's bodies) is a major plot point of Season One, Episode Two of Ugly Betty (american version--although I imagine the topic comes up in the original and other versions too).
posted by Tesseractive at 8:35 PM on June 18, 2009

Not recent, but Looker.
posted by zardoz at 11:03 PM on June 18, 2009

Doll Face, a short animated piece by Andrew Haung
posted by rollick at 4:09 AM on June 29, 2009

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