Janie’s Janie – 1971, 25 minutes
At her father’s knee, Jane Giese had been taught to feel powerless and worthless. “He laid down the law. We belonged to him. If I came in two minutes after nine, I’d get the shit beat outta me.” Her husband, Charlie, refined that lesson. “He pounded into my head I was no good. Everything was my fault. I didn’t do it right. I had only my husband to talk to, so I got to believing “maybe I am stupid.’” Pregnant and married at fifteen, Janie had little evidence with which to refute these feelings. But finally, Janie had enough; she threw Charlie out, determined to raise her five children alone. She realized that men had dictated to her all her life: “First I was my father’s Janie. Then I was Charlie’s Janie. Now I’m Janie’s Janie.”
Janie’s Janie is a unique film in the Newsreel collection. It was the first (and only) “personal documentary,” that sought to expose injustice through the example of a single individual’s story. The film is well crafted, carefully shot and edited. It includes cinema verité scenes of Janie’s life, as well as on-camera interviews. It was directed by Geri Ashur, with Peter Barton, Marilyn Mulford and Stephanie Pawleski.
Janie’s Janie is in the collection of the Freunde der Deutschen Kinematek in Berlin and has been screened at Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the First Women’s International Film Festival, and at the Tampere Festival.
“Without a trace of propagandizing or cinematic trickery, Janie’s Janie simply states the position of a working class woman…This is a story so real it kicks you right in the teeth.” – Arthur Winston’s review in the New York Post
“An important early film of the women’s movement” – Museum of Modern Art