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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Welcome to Women Writers Week 2017

In December 2013, as an experiment, we turned over RogerEbert.com to our women writers for a week, giving them free rein to write articles and movie reviews from a female perspective. It was so successful, both in terms of articles of interest and reader response, that it became a fixture that we moved to March in celebration of National Women’s Month. (See link to articles from Women Writers Week 2016) Today we continue that tradition.  

I firmly believe that being introduced to diverse critical voices and opinions in the arts not only affects how we see the world but also has a profound influence on how we begin to heal it. Healing is certainly in order in this crazy upside-down political situation we find ourselves in. Can anything that our women  writers say this week about film or other topics begin to turn the world back right-side up? Who knows, maybe, maybe not. But adding our voices to the central issues in film and the world will certainly challenge the primarily juvenile alpha-male narratives that seem to be overtaking the airwaves and drowning out the voices of the sane, thoughtful men.  

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Am I talking about films or about the world? Perhaps both. Because to remain silent in the face of a crazed ideology of hatred and lies and deceit and manipulation is to be complicit. Having said that, this week is not about politics, but about lifting up those voices that seek to nurture and educate and unite us. This week at RogerEbert.com, those voices will be the voices of women.   

You will hear the voices of our writers on such topics as “1984;” The Anger of Asian Social Media by Jana Monji;  The Legacy of Monica Vitti by Sasha Kohan; an Ice Castles roundtable by Sheila O’Malley, Susan Wloszczyna and Christy Lemire, an interview of Ann Hornaday by Nell Minow, as well as new film reviews, including “Ghost In the Shell,” “The Boss Baby,” and “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”  

Some of our writers have written previously for us and some are new, but you will enjoy articles by Nell Minow, Jana Monji, Jessica Ritchey, Christy Lemire, Sheila O’Malley, Susan Wloszczyna, Sasha Kohan, Christina Newland, Tina Hassania, Katherine Tulich, Arielle Bernstein, Joyce Kulhawik, Emma Piper-Burket, Tomris Laffly, Justine Smith, and Angelica Jade Bastien, and more. 

I have repeated this before, but it bears repeating: Joyce Kulhawik once said she looked around in 2011 and was shocked at how little power women wielded in the world. I thought about that during the last presidential election when we had perhaps one of the most qualified presidential candidates running, who happened to be a woman. I was shocked at how much venom was aimed at her and her candidacy, a considerable amount of it because of her sex. So I paraphrase my friend Joyce when I say: “In the year 2017, women remain underserved, undervalued, underrepresented and underpaid.” We are hoping to change that. 

Yours Truly, 

Chaz Ebert

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