After four decades of historical reductivism and revisionism, the incendiary student protests of 1968, here and in Europe, have been neatly placed in a box labeled "the antiwar movement." Vietnam was just the flashpoint, however, of a roaring clamor for a new society stripped of the venal old-boy power structure, and with equal rights and redefined gender roles. The German cinema -- with activist-cum-filmmaker Helke Sander leading the charge -- was among the first to express a radical feminist point of view. The series "Women of '68"
begins with Sander's rarely screened 1971 featurette Eine Pramie fur Irene (A Bonus for Irene)
, a sobering study of a powerless working mother. The men that cross Irene's path, at her job at a television factory and elsewhere, can barely handle a pencil, let alone a woman, a business, or a country. Sander pushed her social criticism even further with Redupers
(screening May 20), the path-breaking 1977 film in which she played a freelance newspaper photographer and single mom negotiating the grim realities of a divided, stagnant Berlin. Sander wasn't only a pioneer of women's film, but an advocate of revolution.
Eine Pramie fur Irene (A Bonus for Irene) starts at 7 p.m.
Tuesdays. Starts: May 13. Continues through June 10, 2008