Women and Film Presents:
Seven Women, Seven Sins (1987)
Seven women filmmakers explore the seven deadly sins
Directed by Chantal Akerman, Maxi Cohen, Valie Export, Laurence Gavron, Bette Gordon, Ulrike Ottinger, Helke Sander
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A 1987 German-American-French-Austrian omnibus, Seven Women, Seven Sins suggests there’s any number of ways a person can go wrong. Chantal Akerman, taking on “Sloth,” is beyond reproach: documenting the funny, fruitless process of cajoling herself into the simplest morning tasks, she’s shown up at every turn by a dedicated musician. Hers is a brief and precise portrait—not necessarily of sloth, but of depression. Maxi Cohen, who ran a newspaper ad calling for the angriest New Yorkers to come forth, turns the camera on and lets the violent and the violated speak, scream, or cry. Laurence Gavron’s “Envy,” the most traditional entry, sets up and takes down an unhinged European orchestra conductor, while Bette Gordon’s teased-hair, Brazil-esque “Greed,” as well as Valie Export’s “Lust,” seen today, are reminders that the ‘80s are still with us. Helke Sander’s “Gluttony” and Ulrike Ottinger’s “Pride” provide a set of matching bookends—to start, a Neanderthal Adam and Eve find that apple consumption leads to drastic hair loss, and in the end, a host of Boschian grotesques parading aimlessly through a studio lot offers a good reminder of what can happen to those who take religious writing literally.