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Beyond Bechdel

Beyond Bechdel

Author: Beyond Bechdel

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Nevertheless, we ALL persisted. A podcast about film and feminism from writers behind
71 Episodes
And we're BACK! Welcome to this 8-part mini-series of Beyond Bechdel, where we delve into cinematic culture from a very particular point of view. Stay with us for interviews, reviews, discussion and a lot of laughter from fantastic people working in the film and TV industry. The title might sound a bit odd but we'll break it down for you in the episodes, you'll have to listen to find out! Please let us know what we're doing right (and wrong)by Tweeting us @beyond_bechdel Emailing us at We kick off with....sound! Music by
We are back in the cinema with a big, bold action movie that celebrates sound and champions hearing loss - A Quiet Place: Part 2.  Join Contrarah for an episode about what the film represents, if it's any good and how Millicent Simmonds is its runaway star. This episode contains SPOILERS in certain places, so please consult the running order below if you don't want to be spoiled. 00:00 - 01:25.  Intro 01:25 - 11.46.   Spoiler free recap and review 11:47 - 25:25.   Full plot summary BURSTING WITH SPOILERS - listen at your peril! 25:25 - 34.36.   Millicent Simmonds discussion, celebrating hearing-impaired actresses. Impaired NEVER means lesser!     
This episode delves into Hollywood history and the fascinating back story surrounding the 1977 Oscar-winning movie Julia. Based on the memoirs of playwright Lillian Hellman and starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, Julia is a strange and thrilling story about Hellman's real life brush with espionage and German fascism...or is it?  After the film was released and won 3 Oscars (including for Adapted Screenplay) it was suggested by Hellman's rival Mary McCarthy that Hellman may have inserted herself into the narrative, and the 'facts' may actually be a fiction, or worse, taken from someone's else life story. And the story is all set around WW2!  Contrarah and Nick look at the moral implications of fabricating film plots, the role of male screenwriters in writing believable female friendships and the 'she said, she said' nature of professional female rivalry. Truth is stranger than fiction, but what exactly is the truth?!
Filmmaker Ella Greenwood packed in a lot in the last couple of years. She made an award-winning short film about her struggles with teenage mental health issues (Faulty Roots), she made an animated film to bring those discussion topics to a younger audience (Dreary Days), she started working on her next film Self Charm with the award-winning Bukky Bakray and she was announced as one of the Forbes' 30 under 30 (at age 19). Ella takes Contrarah through this story, her work with Broken Flames - her company helping to shine a light on teen mental health issues and all the people that helped Ella bring her stories to life. A comedy and horror lover, Ella also waxes lyrical on her love of TV and how female filmmakers are always so much more qualified than they think they are. Click the links for more: Faulty Roots  Dreary Days Read more about all of Ella's work here  Special thanks to Latoya.
Ah 2020, a great year for health, positivity, movies.... in the immortal words of Thor, is it, though?  Contrarah researched what movies we went to see at the cinema and on streaming services, and some interesting trends emerged.  Did we choose movies to watch because they were the best? Or because they were the best available? Or because they were simply, available?  Let us know what films you most loved from last year by mailing us at, tweeting @Beyond_Bechdel or on
This is a real treat of an episode for anyone wanting tips on how to find work in cinema, and for anyone who loves Paris (that's everyone, surely?) Contrarah is joined by director, actress, writer and film festival producer Jenna Suru to talk about the Paris International Film Festival and her film career, including her feature L'Age D'or (The Golden Age), and film reviewer, content creator and PR guru Latoya Austin AKA Franglais27 about her fantastic career and how these two women came to know one another. The episode is divided into parts on the film festival, film journalism, directing a feature, career advice and of course, Bechdel passing and failing movies! Find out more about our guests here: Jenna Suru on Facebook, @jennasuru on Twitter @belleepoquefilms on Instagram and Facebook & Twitter,  @lagedorfilm (The Golden Age) on Instagram, Twitter , Facebook and the Youtube Channel  More on The Paris International Film Festival can be found at:  Find Latoya at: @franglais27 on Twitter and Instagram and at the website and find out more about the Birds Eye View agency's Reclaim the Frame campaign or search using #ReclaimtheFrame Hope to see you all in St Tropez real soon!
Now that we have your attention... In honour of (and a little bit in spite of) IWD we made an episode about the women who inspire us  - every day - across the arts. Contrarah asked filmmakers Becky Lima-Matthews ( and Jen Francis (Sassy Jam Productions) to come talk, champion and celebrate women in multiple fields and they delivered! Our choices cover producing, writing, gaming, acting, directing and philanthropy. And in no particular order they are: Becky: Deborah Levy, Samantha Irby, Candice Carty-Williams Jen: Mara Brock Akil, Emma Thomas, Meghan Markle Contrarah: Gina Rodriguez/Letitia Wright, Alanah Pearce, Regina King/Kathryn Hahn/Marielle Heller (Contrarah can't count) Women are phenomenal. Thanks to Andrew Evans (as always) for the Beyond Bechdel score.
To celebrate and commemorate LGBTQ History Month (in the UK) we take a look at lesbian cinema, focusing on movies that put gay relationships front and centre. Join Contrarah and Nick as they discuss what's good and bad about films made in the 1960s, the 2010s and right now in 2021, and the complexities of putting queer stories about women on screen. 
We turn our attention to Wandavision, the mystery box show that everyone is talking about and nobody fully understands. If you have a passing interest in the new Disney+ show but don't have the energy to find out what's happening, let Contrarah do the hard work for you. She sets out why it's such a female-friendly show, then gives an episode by episode recap for the first five episodes (both parts are spoiler-free), before moving to a full on geek-out investigating all the spoilers, all the theories and all the wild speculation as to what this show means for the MCU and beyond. Timecodes: Part 1 - Celebrating Wandavision:         02:46 - 15:10 Part 2 - Episode 1-5 Quick-fire Recaps: 15:25 - 40:00 Part 3 - Full SPOILER and Speculation section: 40:30 - 1:17:00 This is for you...and For The Children
Welcome to a new era...of (hopefully) better, kinder government.  The film industry has seen its fair share of political scandal and Contrarah wonders if we can learn lessons from movies, especially those made many years ago. We discuss 5 movies spanning a period of worldwide political upheaval from the 1940s all the way to end of the last century, and find an uncanny resonance with what's happening in 2021. Join us for a trip down memory lane just before a new US inauguration. 
2021! A new year and a renewed opportunity to get excited about the Academy Awards! Kinda... Soon the Academy will be implementing a new set of diversity and inclusion rules, which can't come soon enough.  Kristin Janssen - podcast host of So...I'm Watching this Show joins Contrarah to break down the rules and talk about the films she loves and loathes, many of which wouldn't be eligible for nomination under the new rules. Join us for in-depth chat and fits of giggles. Read the new rules here. Follow Kristin and co-host Will's pod exploits on the SIWTS website. Let us have your thoughts here and at  Be Kind and Redefine.
59 - Mank

59 - Mank


This is part 3 of a now 4-part series (screw chronology) because Mank is a movie with so many layers it demands its own episode!  While David Fincher is definitely not the greatest closet feminist of all time, Mank says a lot about Hollywood hierarchies, gender roles, politics and numerous power battles. It's a masterpiece, and requires an explainer. So Contrarah and Nick watched both Mank and Citizen Kane, to help them take you through all of the inside baseball that Fincher delivers about a certain Herman J Mankiewicz. It's the Magic of the Movies, baby!
Yeah, yeah 2020 is a living it though?   The prestige TV world is booming and this year we were able to enjoy some of the best shows around. Also, we could finally concentrate on listening to the music behind these big shows.  Music can be very subjective, as Contrarah found out, when a tweet called one of her favourite 2020 TV songs THE MOST ANNOYING! (she hasn't yet recovered)  Judge for yourself whether you agree with our taste, as we take you on a musical journey through the TV themes of 2020.  Further reading:  Synchtank's piece on female composers  PRS for music stats Listen up!
In Part 2 of this series, we're still to determine whether David Fincher is the greatest closet feminist of all time?  In this period Fincher starts to utilise a range of female characters, takes a view on disability and even hires some (read: a few) people of colour.  But we cannot deny that the brilliantly dark auteur treats people as people, and that's to be commended.  Come listen to our amusing analysis, where Fincher's dark soul tries to reach for the light! David Fincher - friend or foe of film feminism? The jury's still out...
56 - David Fincher

56 - David Fincher


Is David Fincher the greatest hidden feminist of all time? Unlikely, but his movies appeal to all of our darker desires. Join us on a poorly lit but beautifully sounding journey through the director's back catalogue, and then decide for yourself: Fincher - friend or foe of film feminism?
This episode is devoted to the superhuman acting capabilities of Cush Jumbo. It's also a teaser for our London Film Festival 2020 coverage - this year's festival is full of thought-provoking movies made by filmmakers with something to say. Clips in the episode are from: Herself - Dir. Phyllida Lloyd Undine - Starring Paula Beer Reggae music doc (which inspired Lovers Rock - Dir. Steve McQueen) Industry - Dir. Tinge Krishnan, Lena Dunham, Mary Nighy and Ed Lilly Shirley - Dir. Josephine Decker Nomadland - Dir. Chloe Zhou What do you want to see? Email us, tweet or contact us at
We have a legal theme for this episode, asking: how is the law serving women on screen?  Contrarah analyses a new Netflix show that might be doing more harm than good, followed by a quick retrospective of a legal titan. You want to lay down the law? Contact us at Tweet us  Send us an email  "You can disagree without being disagreeable."
You know when you feel all the feelings, including thinking two alternative beliefs at the same time? Like.... Me: I hate this show, it's so trashy/horrifying/boring! Also me: I love this show it's the best ever, I can't look away!! That's what this episode is about. Send us your conflicting opinions: and and
52 - TENET

52 - TENET


A special bonus episode about the film that is going to 'save cinema'. Contrarah has braved TENET twice so she and Nick (a one-time slightly confused viewer) review and breakdown Christopher Nolan's latest complex and controversial spy caper.  NOTE: The episode is broken down into a 1) non-spoiler section, 2) a full detailed plot analysis and 3) spoiler-filled discussion. See time codes below: 00:30 - 33.05 Part One: Discussion of TENET - no spoilers, all confusion. 33.:23 - 54:48 Part Two: Full plot explainer - if you're confused after watching or want to see TENET while holding all the cards completely spoiled, this is for you. 55:00 to end Part Three: A spoiler-filled review of the plot mechanics, characters and ideas in this crazy masterpiece. Here is the visual timeline mentioned in the ep (a gigantic spoiler): What happened, happened.
While we work on season 3, let's look at some things we love, and some that we loathe. In this episode: reading matter!
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