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March 25, 2014 | posted in Filmmakers
Myriam Fougère, director, “Lesbiana: A Parallel Revolution,” noticed that lesbians were not included in the feminist history books, nor in the history of gay liberation. She also noted that many women who were part of our Lesbian Movement were reaching old age and dying off.
"I realized that no one had started telling the stories of this movement," she says. "Most people, even most young feminists did not even know of [the stories’] existence.
There is no name for what these women did. "I called it a 'Parallel Revolution,'" says Fougère, "because it was a revolution that went on parallel to 'mainstream society,' in a clandestine fashion."
The film is about the radical lesbians of the 1980s, those who chose to live only among women. This movement is brought to life with "evocative interviews with these courageous women," archival footage and photographs.
Fougère worked for four years on the film and, because of limited funding, she worked very simply, traveling mostly where her car could go in Québec and the east coast of the U.S. She talked with 35 women for the film; 23 made the final cut. Many of them are now in their seventies and eighties.
"I wanted to leave a trace of this movement before all the witnesses have disappeared," she says. And they wanted to leave something behind because they were all aware of the lack of information about this "very intense period of their lives."
Fougère says, "It was a real challenge to make a film that could be understandable to people who don't know anything about this movement as well as interesting to the women whose lives were consumed by it."
And she was consumed with making this film. Her first interviews were conducted at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival at a campground in Walhalla, Michigan. She was a one-woman show, doing camera, sound and all the interviews solo. There was no electricity at the festival, so each night, she had to drive to a motel 30 minutes away to recharge all her equipment and download all of the footage she just took.
"I thought I would go crazy," she says. "But I am so glad I did it! I got some powerful footage."
The story has not been depicted anywhere else, so Fougère urges those interested in social movements to see the film.
"If you are a woman, it is part of our history, or as we say, herstory, that has not been told yet."
— Anne M. DiTeodoro
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