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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Virunga

WATWvirunga

A female journalist doing a dangerous job accounts for the positive score, though she is the only woman who appears onscreen in any meaningful capacity.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +5

+10
Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]
-5
Is she the only woman in an otherwise all-male ensemble? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +5

+5
Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: 0

[no issues]

WILDCARD SCORE: 0

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

No.

TOTAL SCORE: +10

IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: A female journalist (Melanie Gouby) doing a dangerous job accounts for the positive score, though she is the only woman who appears onscreen in any meaningful capacity. It may actually be legitimate, however, that no other women could have been a significant contributor to the story being told.


Click here for the ranking of 2014’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Virunga! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Virunga.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)


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