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New German Cinema: The Films of Hellmuth Costard

Thursday, November 8, 1979
7:00 p.m. The Oppression of Woman is Primarily Evident in the Behavior of Women Themselves & Short Films
Hellmuth Costard (1969)

Hellmuth Costard in Person!

“In The Oppression of Woman..., Costard poses a simultaneous challenge to some formal conventions of both film and society. The motions, routines and gestures which make up an unremarkable day in the life of an unremarkable housewife, recorded in minute and oppressively tedious detail, become a catalytic ‘object’ through the single and simple device of having the woman played by a man: the long-haired and slightly androgynous-looking Christoph Hemmerling. For one of the most unnerving things about Hemmerling’s performance is that, gesturally, he offers a brilliantly accurate female impersonation without ever actually looking like a woman... which makes the everyday chores and mannerisms of the ‘average housewife’ appear at once surreal and crushingly familiar.”

• Directed, Produced, Written and Photographed by Hellmuth Costard. Edited by Barbara Rast. Sound by Costard. With Christoph Hemmerling. (1969, 64 mins, color, Print Courtesy of filmmaker and Goethe Institute)