Central to the wave of feminist filmmaking that began in the late 1970s was the reintroduction of the spoken and written word, after a decade in which silent and mute images had dominated. 

Films showing in this section: 

12:41 - Lis Rhodes Light Reading 1978
1:02 - Tina Keane Hey Mack 1982
1:16 - Mona Hatoum Measures of Distance 1988

Lis Rhodes Light Reading 1978

20 minutes. Collection: Lux 

Fragmentation, repetition, rapid camera-movements and an insistent sound track – all characteristics of Structural film – take on new meaning in the work of Lis Rhodes. Light Reading was her breakthrough film. While giving voice to a woman’s experience, she resists viewer-identification with the screen-image: ‘She watched herself being looked at / she looked at herself being watched / but she couldn’t perceive herself as the subject of the sentence.’ (Extract from the soundtrack) 


Lis Rhodes studied at North East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, London. She was cinema programmer at the London Filmmakers Co-op in the mid 1970s, and served on cultural and arts committees at the GLC and the Arts Council, where she did much to advance the representation of women. A founder member of Circles Women in Distribution, her work as an artist and her teaching at Goldsmiths College and the Slade have had a substantial influence on the development of the artform. 

Tina Keane Hey Mack 1982

13 minutes. Collection: Artist 

On her first trip to New York, Tina Keane filmed the giant trucks on the street ‘like over sized children’s toys’ Days later she met the womens’ performance group Disband. ‘I was amazed by the spontaneity and energy of their music … their use of childrens’ toys, pots and pans as instruments. Just like the trucks, they were larger than life and threatening; also intriguing, intelligent and funny.’ Tina Keane 2003 


Tina Keane was born in 1948. She studied at Hammersmith College of Art and Sir John Cass School of Art. She was a founder member of Circles - Women in Distribution (films and performance). She has exhibited installations and tapes internationally since the mid 1970s, and has been an influential lecturer at Central St Martins, London. 

Mona Hatoum Measures of Distance 1988

15 minutes. Collection: Tate/Lux 

Measures of Distance centres on letters written to Mona Hatoum from her mother in Beirut. These appear as Arabic text on the screen and are read in English by the artist. Edited with these are taped conversations in Arabic between mother and daughter. ‘Although the main thing that comes across is a very close and emotional relationship between mother and daughter,’ Mona Hatoum has said, ‘it also speaks of exile, displacement, disorientation and a tremendous sense of loss as a result of the separation caused by war.’ 1997 


Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1952. She studied at Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Art. From performances in the early 80s, Hatoum moved to making videos in which voice combined with performance and duration in powerful emotive statements. Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1995, her recent work includes large scale environmental sculptures.