Who Does She Think She Is?
Now Showing at: Cincinnati World Cinema, June 9-10.
Review by: Larry Thomas
Director Pamela Tanner Boll, a writer, filmmaker and mother of three, decided to study other women artists who raise families. The result is the documentary Who Does She Think She Is?. Despite being a field dominated by men, women artists are still constantly striving to break the glass ceiling in art.
Boll examines five women from cities as different as Columbus Ohio and the tropics of St. Vincent, ages 27 to 65, as they struggle to ply their craft while simultaneously doing right by their children. It’s a tenuous balancing act that, as you might imagine, can take a toll on some facet of their lives.
The group is as diverse as might be possible, ethnically, spiritually, and artistically. Janis Wunderlich from Columbus, Ohio. She is a Mormon, a sculptor and ceramicist, and a mother of five. Her daily routine of caring for five children, two still at home, while trying to squeeze in a little time in her art studio, would give the most hardened CEO a stroke. Many of her sculptures featuring animal likenesses are really gorgeous to see, and interesting to contemplate.
Angela Williams is an African-American woman from Providence Rhode Island who married at twenty, had two children, and co-founded, with her husband, an 800-member church. At thirty, Angela realizes she really wants to follow her calling to a theatrical career, and begins auditioning on Broadway.
The others have divergent, but similar, tales to relate about how they mesh these two worlds and can still find time to come up for air. The film is well put together by Director Boll, with fluid editing and good camerawork. It has a lot of useful information for people who are thinking about the career / family combination, and the first-hand observations from these women are very thoughtful.
Interviewed historians reveal that women artists were practically worshipped three thousand years ago, until the rise of the “primary caregiver” concept came into being with the coming of Western civilization. Film clips from other sources, both movies and television, add a particularly pungent punctuation to the proceedings.
Who Does She Think She Is? is a presentation of Cincinnati World Cinema as part of their summer-long documentary series. Showings are Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7 in the Otto M. Budig Theatre in Covington’s Carnegie Arts Center.
The post-film discussion will be led by four local women artists with families, including painter, photographer, and musician Maggie Barnes; teacher, writer, poet and activist Mary Pierce Brosmer; M. Katherine Hurley, a painter and curator; and film and video producer Aymie Majerski, who is co-owner of a production house in Covington.