With acclaimed films like Sink or Swim and The Odds of Recovery, Su Friedrich’s body of work stands at the forefront of avant-garde and Queer cinema. Barbara Mennel examines the career of an experimental auteur whose merger of technical innovation and political critique connects with both cinephiles and activists. Friedrich’s integration of cinematic experimentation with lesbian advocacy serves as a beginning rather than an end point of analysis. With that in mind, Mennel provides an essential overview of the filmmaker’s oeuvre while highlighting the defining characteristics of her artistic and political signature. She also situates Friedrich within the cultural, political, and historical contexts that both shape the films and are shaped by them. Finally, Mennel expands our notion of auteurism to include directors who engage in collaborative and creative processes rooted in communities.
A Politics of the Personal in Experimental Filmmaking
Scratching and Cutting
The Politics of Being Lesbian
An Interview with Su Friedrich
Barbara Mennel is the Rothman Chair and Director of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere at the University of Florida. Mennel's books include Women at Work in Twenty-first Century European Cinema and Queer Cinema: Schoolgirls, Vampires, and Gay Cowboys.
“This insightful book restores filmmaker Su Friedrich’s key role in American experimental cinema, along with the New York feminist and lesbian cultural and activist contexts that shaped it. Friedrich’s associative style, personal content, and precision editing remind us that formalism has politics and politics has form. This comprehensive account challenges existing histories of American experimental film.”--Patricia White, author of Women’s Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms