Femmes Br@nchées #_ :: Wired Women - The Film: A xx 2 minute review

1996-02-02 12:30 - 16:30

Wired Women - The Film: A xx 2 minute review

Kim Sawchuk

February 2, 1996
Screening January 15, 1996

I don't know if Morgan Eliot who made
Wired Women intended to wire me up, but that was the effect this film
had on me. It put me in a tizzy. Trying to emulate MTV's style of quick
pace editing and jittery hand held camera movements, the film induced
nausea in more than one spectator at the studio xx screening a few weeks
ago. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be shown on the big screen, which made
me feel like I was on an airplane encountering turbulence. Perhaps the
value of the screening was precisely to remind me that the medium still

I found the content equally tough to take. What promises to be a survey
of women's use of the net is less a documentary in my opinion, and more
a promo for compuserve. The moral tale of the film is embodied in the
story of the narrator Elvira Kurtz, who magically transforms from technophobe
to technofile after seeing all these women doing it. Anything announcing
itself as a documentary should take into account divergent practices,
ask some questions, show a litttle scepticism.

The filmamaker depicts the potential of the net as a marketing tool for
female entrepeneurs who run cofee shops or sell jewellery for piercings.
When the crew visits the Banff Centre, curator Catherine Crowston and
media arts director Sara Diamond are overshadowed by head of publicity
who is wowed by the speed at which she can make contacts. Okay, I have
no problem with people who show a little initiative, financial or otherwise,
and I also know that we all need money, women in particular. But as a
survey, the practices represented lean heavily towards two poles: Business
and Relationships.

The film spends far too long lovingly gazing on a mother-daughter relationship
sustained while daughter is away at college in Isreal. The internet was
able to help mom know her daughter was all right during the Gulf War:
no mention of the context or the politics of the people involved. To be
frank, after too many minutes getting to know the details of their personal
lives, I just didn't care. Relationship number two is introduced under
the rubric cybersex: a guy and the girl meet on-line (OL) via a news group
on the Monkees and decide to meet each other off line or in (RL) for the
benefit of the camera. This section wasn't so annoying to me for it allowed
itself to display a bit of humour, and not at their expense.

But these were very conventional people, and the made for t.v. film steered
away from any hint of anything naughty that's out there for women, save
the possibility of a bit of silver for your navel. Dykes, gays, lesbians
weren't very evident in the film's pandering to the safety of heterosexuality.
The film touches on porn and sex, which Sara Diamond points out isn't
much of an issue and avoids any discussion of feminist organizations,
politics, artists collectives, or some of the funky cyber chick stuff.
It's tame but rugged individualism of a sort for girls. Turn on your modems
and ride into the new frontier.

I've been very harsh. The film does have its moments. I think that the
best lines in the film are uttered by Diana in Montreal, who thinks of
her computer as just another appliance and leaves it in the kitchen. Diana,
who is amazed she can order meat on the net, and tells the hilarious story
of how miscommuncations can happen. When they talked about SNOW, she thought
he was talking about the weather, he thought she wanted to score some

Maybe I'm old, bitchy, tired; but I wanted more.

My minutes are up. I hope that at the next femmes branchées one
of you takes up the challenge of reviewing some aspect of tech-life, be
it movie, book, or CD-ROM.