History Lessons

"Very Good"

History Lessons Review


History Lessons gives a unique glimpse into the background of lesbian relations -- by putting it through a historical lens. It effectively dispels any idea that being a lesbian is some kind of trend that emerged from Stonewall, as some of its footage dates back 50 years or more. And more than most films that deal with the subject of lesbianism, this film brightly takes into account the fact that there is more than one form of women sleeping with her own gender.

Some of the images are shockingly graphic, but they also force the viewer to accept how natural it is for women to enjoy one another. From displaying fully-clothed women frolicking during the war effort to showing oral sex acts, Barbara Hammer wisely chooses to look at the subject from every angle. It's not about empowering women or degrading them, but simply cataloging the wide variety of lesbians and their behaviors.

That's not to say that History doesn't have a general feeling of inner female power. In shot after shot we see women doing what they want and enjoying themselves. When they are hindered, it is by some laughably naïve, intruding character that has no real impact on their lives. So even when the world at large becomes a challenge, they find strength and enjoyment in one another. Just like heterosexual women, they endure and find a way to live life to the fullest.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of archival footage, sometimes the images have too much of a scrappy, thrown-together look. And when these old reels get repeated, the result is not as effective. Another difficulty, especially for a film with a documentary feel, is that there is no rhyme or reason to how or when scenes are placed together. There are no datelines provided, so we don't really understand if any progress has been made. It's impossible to guess why one scene follows another. Though just over an hour in length, stylings like this make the viewing experience feel longer. The basic premise of the film is ever-present, instead of building to any kind of climax.

Still, History is also an intelligent, satirical presentation of how misdirected the media is in defining lesbians. Often the music and sarcastic narration are more interesting than the pictures they are matched to. The altered historical voices provide enjoyable commentary instead of spouting some moralistic, heavy-hitting speech about injustice. It's a clear, unique voice that allows you to think for yourself, and even sometimes laugh in the face of sadness.



History Lessons

Facts and Figures

Run time: 65 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 6th June 2007

Distributed by: First Run Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Barbara Hammer

Producer: Barbara Hammer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.