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218Women in French Studies that he will seduce specialists and nonspecialists alike. Although Duby spares no details of genealogy, his texts are illuminating. Vulgarizing material that might otherwise seem dated for our students of history or literature, they lead readers not only into discovering new heroines, but also into discovering new meanings to familiar stories that have nurtured our imaginations. Catherine Slawy-SuttonDavidson College Janis L. Pallister. French-speaking WomenFilmDirectors: A Guide. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997. ISBN: 0-8386-3736-1. Pp. 250. That Janis L. Pallister, by her own admission, "possesses] an uncommon desire to look at and to speak about movies" (7) makes her the ideal "guide" to lead us into the still largely under-explored territory ofFrench-Speaking Women Film Directors. By virtue of its remarkable thoroughness, accessibility, and accuracy, Pallister's book, the first publication to be subsidized by Women in French, sets an admirable standard for future WIF projects as well. The core of the book consists of an alphabetical directory of women filmmakers and their films, organized by geographical region. This listing, which includes French-speaking directors from Africa, Argentina, Belgium, the Caribbean, Chile, France, Iceland, Lebanon, Monaco, Quebec, Switzerland, and Venezuela, consolidates for the first time information about the entire Francophone world. To the extent possible, Pallister also seeks to be comprehensive, indeed, "to list every woman whose name has been important enough to have been mentioned in some context or other" (10). As a result, individual entries differ significantly in terms of length and development, but Pallister's desire to include all the information currently available to her, even where severely limited, unverified, or both, in an effort to "stimulate further research" (1 0) is fully in keeping with the necessarily collaborative nature offilm scholarship and offilm itself. Pallister also reasonably seeks historical coverage as complete as possible, since, as she notes, this type of reference book cannot avoid becoming out ofdate. She is equally thorough in her attention to different film genres; of particular note is her careful inclusion of documentary and animated film. In general, entries on individual women directors include a range ofinteresting and useful information selected from available sources. In addition to providing briefsummaries offilms and pertinent biographical and historical background information, Pallister also documents the availability ofparticular films, characterizes their overall critical reception, and refers, as appropriate, to pertinent secondary sources. Her inclusion in this category of some reviews that appeared in the popular press, as well as more scholarly essays, will be particularly appreciated by anyone who has ever spent much time trying to track down the former; equally appropriate and timely is her inclusion of some Internet resources. Despite her respect for the economy essential to this kind ofreference work, Pallister is also Book Reviews219 careful to include information on a given director's cinematic style and characteristic visual strategies as well as on the cultural, thematic, and ideological content ofher body ofwork. Pallister's occasional use ofthe first person to interject her own personal reaction to a particular film or to its critics adds an unexpected and welcome touch ofinformality and often humor to her more conventionally objective discourse. Ultimately, this tone helps to create a sense ofdialogue that is fully in keeping with the predominantly pedagogical intentions that underlie this guide and which are further reinforced by Pallister's parenthetical tips on both readings and other viewings that might accompany the study of a particular film. Although French-Speaking Women Directors was originally intended as a resource for professors of French who teach Women's Studies and film courses, the project, as realized, can be expected to have broader appeal. To this effect, the core directory ofthe book is supplemented by six additional sections. "Core Concepts and Themes" proposes a wide spectrum ofconceptual and thematic categories that include, for example, some of the following: Abortion, Alienation and Exile, Crime, Homosexuality, Incest, Indochina, Prostitution, and the Women's Movement. In this section, French-language films by women directors are grouped both with the works of women filmmakers of other nationalities and with some films directed by men. Pallister's guide also includes a glossary ofcinematographic terms in both French and English...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-5486
Print ISSN
1077-825x
Pages
pp. 218-220
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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