Memo to Movie Producers:
Are you having trouble with the Swedish Film Institute? Do you need to improve your Bechdel Rating by including more women in important roles in your movies? Look no further. The Circle of Thirteen provides the perfect story for your next movie script. The Bechdel system gives high marks to films with important women characters who talk to each other about things other than men during the course of the movie. Based on that criteria, The Circle of Thirteen will guarantee you an A+ on your next score card.
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The origin of the Bechdel Test was a line of dialogue from the great cartoonist Alison Bechdel. It may have started as a cartoon, but it was welcomed by critics of the film industry as the expression of an important truth: women are often relegated to second-class status in major movies.
This “Test” was mainly an underground phenomenon until the Swedish Film Institute seized upon it recently and started using it to rate films. That prompted a November 7, 2013, story on NPR. That’s where I first heard about it. Entertainment Weekly picked it up about the same time, and then Cory Doctorow wrote about it on Boing Boing. All of us, however, are playing catch up to the women on Bechdel Test Talk on Yahoo video, who have been discussing this issue on a regular basis for some time.
So what is the Bechdel Test for a movie? Here’s how Entertainment Weekly states it:
Do more than two female characters have a name?
Do they speak to each other?
And, if the two named female characters have a conversation, is it about something other than a man?
Seems pretty simple, you would think. But according to the women organizing the test in Sweden, “The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction, and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test,”
Opportunity, hear it knock.
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