Bechdel's Rule

If a movie doesn't have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man, it's not worth seeing. Apparently this rule is thirty years old. I have managed to miss it entirely. This may explain, however, my general and longstanding antipathy to the available fare in mainstream movie theaters.

As usual, Bitch Phd has a good post about why the dialogue part matters. In a nutshell: Dialogue is where the narrative heavy-lifting happens. When characters are talking, they are explaining motivations, broadly construed -- the principles that order and produce meaning inside the universe of the film. As BPhD says, "They are illuminating the world they live in by describing it." What isn't discussed remains outside the order of the film because doesn't make sense within the film's universe. Having women talk to each other onscreen about something other than a man -- how refreshing! So many novel narrative possibilities open up.

(Discovered this material while surfing the internet, longing to find the wherewithal to do some actual work. I am unconfident these days, the person at the end of the diving board who keeps pacing back and forth, who can't summon the nerve to make the leap into the water. Do I owe you email? I will get back to you tomorrow. Today I'm working on getting into the swim, as they say.)