Appropriate for: College/University
Betty Tells Her Storyby Liane Brandon
The classic film about beauty, identity and a dress.
BETTY TELLS HER STORY was one of the earliest films of the modern Women's Movement - and it has become one of the most enduring. Made in 1972, it was one of the first to explore women's identity, image and clothing in our culture.
The story Betty tells is a simple one. She needed "the perfect dress" for a very special occasion. Betty describes in amusing detail how she found just the right one, spent more than she could afford for it, modeled it for admiring friends, felt absolutely transformed and then...never got to wear it. The story and Betty are witty, engaging and delightful.
Then Betty is asked to tell her story again. This time the story is strikingly different. While the facts remain the same, Betty reveals how she really felt: her anxiety over buying the dress, her discomfort at being praised for beauty she feels she doesn't have, and her subsequent bewilderment at the way things turn out. Betty becomes withdrawn, sad and vulnerable, and her voice, body and words express the painfulness of the memory. The contrast between the two stories is haunting.
Our culture's emphasis on female "beauty" underscores the poignant saga of Betty's search for "the perfect dress". The film is as meaningful and moving today as it was when it was made.
BETTY TELLS HER STORY was restored with a grant from NYWIFT's Women's Film Preservation Fund. The restored version was recently featured at the Museum of Modern Art in NY.
This classic study of the tyranny of the beauty ideal is perhaps more relevant today than ever before. Brandon's film tells a story that is funny, moving, and powerfully illuminating.
Creator, "Killing Us Softly"
Betty Tells Her Story is, in my opinion, a masterpiece...It is impossible to imagine any woman over 12 not relating to the film. Its emotional impact is overwhelming...
Mary K. Chelton
School Library Journal
Brandon is to be congratulated... this is a film about human beings - how they talk and feel, hide and reveal, and hurt.
Seldom in a film does the warmth and the human spirit of an individual come across as it happens here; seldom does a person reveal herself so honestly and openly.
Patricia H. Black
Film Library Quarterly
"Betty talks about our cultural values. That if you're not young and thin you can't be beautiful, that being beautiful depends on what you wear, that it's so important to try to be beautiful. In one short story, Betty subtly exposes the cruelty of these values."
The Second Wave
AWARDS & SCREENINGS:
- Museum of Modern Art
- Festival Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival
- National Broadcast, The Learning Channel
- Nominee, National Film Registry
- International Festival of Women's Films, Paris
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- Chicago Art Institute
- Film Forum, New York
- Robert Flaherty International Film Seminar
Resource Web Sites
Subject: Women's Studies/Men's Studies