Australian Screen

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Journey among Women (1977)

  1. I played Emily, the young girl in the first clip, when I was 13-years-old. The film was conceived, by at least some involved, as a feminist 'take' on the early colony. My mother, Dorothy Hewett, was partly responsible for the script. Thankfully the clip you have chosen stops before the rape scene and doesn't include any of the nudity in the film. By the time I was a young woman, men regularly told me they rented this video for porn nights. I recently gave evidence to the Royal Commission into the Sexual Abuse of Children in the Entertainment Industry. I included my experiences on this film and my partially nude (topless) appearances as part of my evidence. Sadly I see it as part of a pattern of sexual abuse in the 1970s. And on International Womens Day it might just be time to say something about it.

  2. #1 from roselilley – 1 year, 2 months ago.
  3. Thanks Rose for your comments. I didn't know that you gave evidence at the Royal Commission. Good for you!
    See Dec 2015 Guardian article: "Journey Among Women rewatched – savagery in racy revenge drama": https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/dec/20/journey-among-women-rewatched-savagery-in-racy-revenge-drama

    Some of my posted comments here:
    "I would like to set the record straight re these statements: “Most of the cast and crew were feminists who disagreed mid-shoot on the direction the film was headed…Some of the actors jumped behind the camera, directing themselves, and others simply jumped ship”.

    No actors jumped behind the camera and started filming nor did any “jump ship”. The only declared ‘feminist’ on the crew was me (and the two cooks; I was one of Tom Cowan’s camera assistants); the convict women were cast from an even mix of professional actors (some feminist and lesbian), alongside feminist activists and/or lesbians. Some women were from the popular band of the time ‘Clitoris.’ The mix in casting, in my view, was intentional to create a disruptive ‘psychodrama feel’. It did erupt one day when several cast members refused to perform what they regarded as ‘sexist’ shots (involving being naked in the bush after their escape from the convict prison hut). I “jumped ship” then and joined the protest, refusing to load the camera’s magazines. The breakdown in filming evolved there and then into a sit-down discussion of all cast and crew; this was filmed and may exist, and in my view the footage would be of considerable historical value.

    Re: “frustratingly, the director refused to set the record straight on the DVD commentary” - I agree. The release of the DVD was a lost opportunity, apart from screen scholar Jane Mill’s very insightful accompanying essay on the DVD (‘Journey Among Women – Special and Electric’, Mad Man: Melbourne, 2009).
    The producers of the DVD more or less simply re-invented their 1977 sexploitation wheel.
    I was approached during the production of the DVD and invited to supply the producers with my super8 footage (that I filmed on and off the set of ‘Journey Among Women’). I had several suggestions or preconditions, including:
    1.That the women in the super8 footage be contacted for their permissions that footage of them be reproduced in the DVD.
    2.That the women approve the final edit of the proposed footage, other DVD contents and the proposed marketing and publicity materials.
    3.That a reasonable market value fee be paid for my super8 footage.
    The DVD producers had their tight schedule, and my suggestions, obviously involved lengthy consultations (as an ethical protocols process does) and so the DVD is as it is.
    Jeni Thornley: http://www.jenithornley.com/

  4. #2 from jenithornley – 9 months ago.
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