Yesterday I left work early at 4pm, rode the subway home, walked my dog, then got back on the subway. Switched to a bus, realized the bus was deviating from the route I expected it to take. Got off the bus and ran/walked the half mile or so left to the Swedish Film Institute (Svenska Filminstitutet or SFI). I was meeting a new expat friend and we were going to hear Germaine Greer speak and then show the film “Town Bloody Hall.”
Greer is a noted Australian feminist and since this is a blog and not journalism, I will throw you a quote from Wikipedia so that you learn a little more if you’ve never heard of her.
Greer’s ideas have created controversy ever since her book The Female Eunuch became an international best-seller in 1970, turning her into a household name and bringing her both adulation and opposition. She is also the author of many other books including Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility (1984); The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause (1991); Shakespeare’s Wife (2007); and The Whole Woman (1999). She is Professor Emerita of English Literature and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick. (Wikipedia)
My connection to Greer is that I studied in Australia in 1984. I studied Philosophy and took a feminism course there and learned about her. My “six degrees of separation” connection to SFI is that I boldly went unannounced and asked SFI for a job in 1986 when I first visited Sweden. They declined to give me a job, instead I got a free keychain. (I think they felt sorry for me.) So I went back to America and got a job in Hollywood, eventually working as a camera assistant.
Swedish Film Institute
SFI has a major new initiative in which they are hosting lectures, works in progress, and debates in their “Film House” in Stockholm and around Sweden. Their ambition, according to their website is to ‘create a creative meeting place for conversation and dynamic controversy, where exploration the processes of film, politics, and cinematography can occur.’ (my translation)
They chose to kick off the initiative with inspiration from the seventies. Germaine Greer was invited to give a lecture on the history of the women’s movement and the image of women. She was introducing the classic documentary “Town Bloody Hall” from 1971 in which Norman Mailer was filmed debating Greer and three other feminists.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, there were no more tickets left when my friend and I arrived. We bought tickets for the film only—for which there were tickets left—hoping that they would let us into the lecture. But it was not to be. There was chaos in the lobby and unfortunately the ticket selling process had lots of hiccups. Since the movie wasn’t till 8pm and we were there at 6pm, we decided not to wait around. In the end, we asked for our money back and got it.
The Good News
The good news is that there seem to be plenty of people interested in feminisim in Stockholm. We didn’t know if there would be five middle-aged women like us or 50 at the lecture. Well, there seemed to be a good deal more than that, and all ages and both genders. Right on!
The other good news is that SFI plans to show the documentary on the Net. I’m not exactly sure whether that will happen on their site or somewhere like Swedish Television’s website (SVT). Look for it if you are interested.
So, back home I went, empty-handed and the whole enterprise took about four hours. Oh well. You win some and you lose some. At least I have shared something about Germaine Greer if you didn’t know about her before!