Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle. As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021. That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present: Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator.
Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,
“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”
Friends can be unreliable narrators. Salka Viertel was an early screenwriter. She wrote several Greta Garbo films and was in fact sidelined when Greta decided to stop making films. Her home in the Hollywood Hills is a big salon. The new book out “The Sun and Her Stars” is all about that but men who write about her write about her chocolate cake. The only man to write about her as a writer that he respected was Christopher Isherwood the playwright who she rented her guest house to with his lover Don Bachardy and so he respected her work enough to mention that but her friends – her male friends – all thought about her cooking. Archives don’t want to be unreliable narrators but they can be if women don’t send their work to them. If other people don’t preserve the work of women. So as much as we adore these places they don’t tell the whole story either. I don’t think it’s their fault.
Watch this entire presentation