"Claudia Weill's Girlfriends is a deceptively small film, focused as it is on the shifting relationships between the women of its title.
"Photographer Susan Weinblatt (Melanie Mayron) lies at its centre, and as the film begins she is sharing an apartment with her writer friend Anne Munroe (Anita Skinner).
"Girlfriends is both a window into a New York City now long gone, and [a] serious contemplation of the way that relationships between people change …
"With a background in documentary filmmaking, Weill initially envisioned the project as a straightforward non-fiction film about the experience of Jewish women in America.
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"It is from this perspective that Weill has said she developed a knack for picking up the nuance of small things – tiny gestures, seemingly throw-away comments – and it is how these cluster and evolve in Girlfriends that grants the film its remarkable energy and precision.
"It is a film that demands we drill down into the meaning and value of the now, rather than looking for epic story arcs or in-your-face, overinflated symbolism. Through this approach, Weill grants her characters that rarest of privileges: the right to their own contradictions, the freedom to be confused, and the space to work through it in whatever way they need to.
"Girlfriends is therefore a profoundly respectful film, not only to its characters, but to its audiences – be they watching the film in 1978 or 2016. There is an almost overpowering sense of relief when watching Girlfriends that all stories matter: that the personal politics and insecurities so few of us live without are real experiences, to be valued and thought about and worthy of being projected on cinema screens.
"Girlfriends is not just a significant moment in the history of women's filmmaking, but a milestone in the way that women are taught to reflect upon and think about our own lives, our own relationships, and our own way of being in the world."
- Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, The Blue Lenses
When: Monday, July 11, 7pm
Where: Davis Theatre, Whanganui Regional Museum, Watt St.
Tickets: Members only. Membership can be purchased at the door starting from a 3-film sampler for $30, or go to http://www.nzfilmsociety.org.nz/whanganui.html for other membership options.
Please note that wearing a face mask is compulsory.