Movie review: “Ferry Tales”
2003, 40 minutes
A film by Katja Esson
Reviewed by Magdalena Quintana, 15, New Mexico with Alison Lanier, 19, Massachusetts
Ferry Tales is an interesting and engaging documentary that is a well-made, unexpected look at the lives of women who come together every day as they commute on the Staten Island ferry for 30 minutes into New York City each day. In the ferry’s powder room, cameras capture the straightforward exchanges between the women as they talk about their lives, get advice about what’s bothering them, and just hang out. Topics range from domestic abuse to September 11th to wearing high heels. This brief and honest film gives a very human face to these women and their varied lives and struggles. This film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short.
This movie is a strong depiction of women outside of type-cast categories. They aren’t presented as blue-color workers versus professional women or as Black women interacting with White women. As the women meet up every day in front of the powder room mirrors, their conversations demolish preconceived, unspoken boundaries. They have very different homes and backgrounds, but their truthful, unflinching self-expression link them for a few moments each day. The women are not cast as businesswomen or as mothers, although work and family problems definitely concern them. They are simply individuals whose many and varied thoughts and experiences are given a strong voice in this movie.
I recommend this movie to young adults. It is not only great for girls interested in sociology, but for any viewer looking for a well-crafted and honest film. Informational and entertaining, it puts these ordinary lives in the limelight, and reveals that these ordinary women are extraordinary in their own right.
For more information on Ferry Tales, see: http://ferrytales.innovativeethnographies.net/
Available through Women Make Movies at: http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c647.shtml
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