100 Minutes of Misogyny: A review of a preview

So I’m watching a preview for a Croatian movie called Sto minuta Slave, or 100 Minutes of Glory, about the life of painter Slava Raškaj.  (Her last name’s pronounced something like Rash-key.  Her first name also means “glory”, so the title of the film is a pun.)

Slava Raškaj

Slava Raškaj, self-portrait

Raškaj is known as the greatest watercolorist in Croatian art.  Deaf since birth, she studied art in Vienna (Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the time) and painted her most famous watercolors in the Botanical Gardens in Zagreb.  There are a couple of them in the Modern Art Gallery in Zagreb.  Other than this, there is damn little material available about her or her life.

I was just at the Gardens a week or two ago myself and felt the longing to paint there also. It’s an amazing little oasis of peace in the middle of a crowded city.

             Slava Raškaj: Lopoči u Botaničkom vrtu u Zagrebu, godina 1899.                     (Slava Raškaj: Water Lilies in Zagreb Botanical Gardens, painted 1899.)

Water Lilies II, by Slava Raskaj

Slava Raškaj only lived to be 29, and toward the end of her life she suffered from depression.  The depiction of which, judging by the preview of the film, seems problematic.  I hate the “crazy bitch” meme in movies, particularly when the “crazy bitch” in question is shown doing things like running naked down a hallway to show how crazy she is, naturally, and also to let the male gaze take a good look at her ass.

How many movies can you remember where they show some young, attractive dude with mental health issues running around naked and screaming, with his ass swaying tantalizingly in the air?

Right.  None.

Raškaj’s relationship with some much older art-dude is all sexed up and made the focus of the film, because we just can’t have a biography about a ladypainter without showing how hot and sexy she was!   And how hot ‘n’ sexy it is to be mentally ill!

Men continue to be as ugly as they want, without sacrificing their right to rich, fulfilling lives. When they happen to suffer from depression, it’s never depicted in film in a sexually titillating way.  That would be sick, right?  Craziness is not sexy unless it afflicts a young, attractive woman and makes her easier prey.

Still debating with myself whether to watch this.  Despite the misogynist memes in it, it’s likely to be better than anything from Hollywood, as Croatian films are generally high quality.

Here’s the preview for Sto minuta Slave:

9 thoughts on “100 Minutes of Misogyny: A review of a preview

  1. I have not heard of this movie, let alone seen it. So I did a quick search, not on the film but on the person. The speed and level of Slava Raškaj’s creativity is mind blowing considering all that she had to endure -deafness, misogyny, the state of mind of her country was not conducive to creativity, the odds against her were enormous and yet she surpassed most if not all around her. Sad how she suffered even in her final years. So I guess the film trailer might not entice me to see the film but the her life would. Guess I’ll have to see the film to see if it has an intellectual message flowing underneath. I must admit, from the trailer, it seems to be incredibly well shot. But incredibly well shot films do not make them good films.

    Thank you bring her name to the fore front, am not forgetting, instead am going to do a little more looking.

    • I have a copy of the Croatian version. I need to find subtitles for it somewhere.

      She was incredibly talented. I just find it sad how they couldn’t treat her with a bit more dignity. Her life was sad enough without exploiting her legacy.

      • I do know, from my search, it was at one time shown in the repertory cinemas here in Canada, but not presently (unfortunately for moi) so there must be a subtitle versions floating around the world.

        I understand where your coming from. It could be the intent was there to do her justices, to do the right thing but they failed somehow. That said sometimes our perception of how we see and interrupt a film is clouded in ways were not aware, the we miss the underlying values. Don’t know, just saying, again guess I’ll have to see the film but even with subtitles a lot of the truthy bits get left out. Dammed if you do and dammed if don’t.

      • you have a point there, my understanding of films is that the film makers often have little to do with the promotion.

      • Yes. But the preview has bits of the film in it, so if it’s in the preview, the filmmakers put it in there. I’m hoping it’s less offensive in proper context, though I’m hard pressed to imagine how “Look at this crazy naked girl!” could be any less offensive even in context.

  2. Of course you should see it. Ignoring stuff doesn’t make it go away; ripping stuff apart from a position of being as fully informed as possible and disseminating said ripping-apart is far more effective. ALWAYS know what the other side is up to, and proceed accordingly. That’s what I think, anyway.

      • Totally understood. But it also looks damned interesting, I think – which is more than can be said for most of the junk churned out these days. Plus, it might surprise you. Context, and all that. See it, and at the very least there’s a great blog post in it. I’d be interested to know more about it – doesn’t seem to be available here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s