In her unabashedly feminist experimental film Ella Freigang (pronounced ‘fry’) explores questions of femininity, what it means to become a woman, and the expectations around being a feminine woman. Does being feminine mean you are married? Have a child? Is it because you bleed? Like many fine works of art Ms. Hart’s School for Young Women asks these questions persistently without providing a straight answer. It invites us to query ourselves, to ask what we experience as ‘womanhood’, and where that comes from.
Freigang’s film is divided into several distinct parts that track the coming of age of a young girl. She uses grapefruits and watermelons as effective stand-ins for the female organ(s) in a light-hearted yet pointed way.
Of particular note is a scene where a woman (with the camera cutting her off at the neck) stands in a suburban driveway stroking an obviously fake baby bump. As she strokes her belly a male voice-over describes different states of child bearing and matrimony before her “belly” falls out and splats on the ground.
Only a watermelon after all.