Legacy of SCUM

Jill Godmilow’s SCUM Manifesto is a modern retelling of Valerie Solanas’s original feminist text. With the release of the latest version, the manifesto has left its mark on literary and cinematic history.

SCUM Manifesto, a film created by Jill Godmilow (What Farocki Taught, Far From Poland) in collaboration with Joanna Krakowska and Magda Mosiewicz is coming to Facets on February 28, 2017! The film is a visual reinterpretation of Valerie Solanas’s radical and satirical feminist text of the same name, published in the late sixties. The original Solanas text, while purposely satirical, argued that men have ruined the world and it’s up to women to fix it. Both the film and the text act as a form of resistance against patriarchal society.

The Godmilow version pays homage to the original short SCUM Manifesto, a French film made in 1976 by Carole Rassopoulos and Delphine Seyrig. When Godmilow was unable to include their film in a collection called Disruptive Film: Everyday Resistance to Power due to legal restrictions, she sought to make her own version. Shooting of Godmilow’s SCUM Manifesto began in Poland in June 2015. She’s since encouraged others to make versions of the film in their own countries and languages.

New Context, New Film, Same Message

Valerie Solanas self-published SCUM Manifesto in 1967. This articulate, angry, often humorous and sometimes absurd text declares that women must “overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation, and destroy the male sex.”  The original text, which Solanas first mimeographed and sold on the street, was later lost and forgotten. It was rediscovered when she shot and almost killed Andy Warhol in 1968, an event that undoubtedly brought her notoriety.

In 1976, renowned French actress and filmmaker Delphine Seyrig (Last Year in Marienbad, Jeanne Dielman) made a film version of the manifesto. The film portrayed Seyrig slowly translating the text of SCUM into French, phrase by phrase, while activist and Swiss director Carole Roussopoulos sits across the table and types up the text.

Almost 40 years after Seyrig’s version was released, Jill Godmilow, Joanna Krakowska, and Magda Mosiewicz continue the SCUM legacy by creating a Polish version of the film. A copy of a copy. With each version, the context of the manifesto changes, allowing it to continue to be relevant—from the counterculture revolution of Solanas’s original, to the global resistance movements of the 1970s in Delphine’s, up to the most recent nationalist hysteria in Poland surrounding Andrzej Duda’s rise to power in Godmilow’s version.

The hope is that more filmmakers, artists, and activists will create many more versions of the film, adapting it in their own language and giving it a new context.

Check out the trailer for Godmilow’s SCUM Manifesto below.

To buy SCUM Manifesto or any of Jill Godmilow’s other films, like Far From Poland, Waiting for the Moon, and What’s Underground About Marshmallows, check out Facets Label.

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