How Many of Your Favourite Films Pass "the Bechdel Test"?

The_Echo

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A Clockwork Orange fails.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off passes.

I'm not sure if I have any other favorite films, but a 50-50 split isn't so bad.
 

hecticpicnic

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I've seen this going up a few times on the escapist a while ago,
and while i find it interesting, but it really doesn't anything.
Generally if the film has a female protagonist or a multi-main character movie it passes.
I guess i'll give it ago with some movies i've watched recently,
prometheus:yes
Human traffic:yes
Four lions:no
Garden state:no
Fist full of dollars:no
Ghost world:yes
Kung fu panda:yes
 

mrdude2010

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peruvianskys said:
SmashLovesTitanQuest said:
What a stupid test.

Yes, films aimed at men are going to be about a man, probably, unless we're talking porno. But hey, I guess we should start shoehorning women into movies like Das Boot, American Phsycho or Amadeus, even though it would make all 3 worse.
But if only maybe 10% of films pass this test, then that implies that only about 10% of films are made with any kind of realistic female character. You don't see that as a problem?
Shoehorning a character into a situation just to satisfy some arbitrary requirement is stupid and unrealistic. There are plenty of situations where a random conversation not related to a person/thing in the movie would be pointless. Movies have to streamline everything to fit into their time requirements, including extraneous character interaction, and they also tend to focus around only a couple key characters, so most conversations will somehow involve them anyway.

Also, passing this test doesn't necessarily mean a film has a realistic female character, and not passing this test doesn't mean it doesn't. Two vapid idiots blithering about makeup is (I'm assuming) a much less flattering depiction of women than a single woman discussing a plot point involving a man.
 

darkfox85

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Fenra said:
Silent Hill was a good film indeed! I?m glad I?m not the only freak who enjoys it. :D Good pacing and hands down the best VG adaptation (although that doesn?t say much.)

As for the test, yeah usefulness is debatable and I don?t really know what conclusions to draw, but it does interest me and I thank everyone for their views. It?s not about negative stereotypes or *effective* representation, only *general* representation. Looking at anything else obscures and retards the findings.

I gotta keep exploring!
Awaaaay!
 

Nazulu

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peruvianskys said:
SmashLovesTitanQuest said:
What a stupid test.

Yes, films aimed at men are going to be about a man, probably, unless we're talking porno. But hey, I guess we should start shoehorning women into movies like Das Boot, American Phsycho or Amadeus, even though it would make all 3 worse.
But if only maybe 10% of films pass this test, then that implies that only about 10% of films are made with any kind of realistic female character. You don't see that as a problem?
Out of peoples favourite movies, on a gaming website, with mostly men? C'mon. When I think of all the directors I like, they're all male. Why aren't there more female directors? If there are any.

Don't mean to seem rude, but I really don't want to see people going on about sexism on something as silly as this.

My favourite movies:
Fantasia - No
2001: A Space Odyssey - No
Poltergeist - Yes
Raiders Of The Lost Arc - can't remember
Saving Private Ryan - No
Titanic - Yes
 

darkfox85

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SmashLovesTitanQuest said:
The thing is The Escapist is populated by males. Something like 90% of the people here are male. So obviously, it's likely most of our favorite films are going to be about men since we can relate to them better.

I'm sure if you asked this question on a website visited primarily by women you'd get a different result. (Provided it's not one of those feminist frequency esque sites who see sexism in anything and everything.)
True on all counts. But the majority of films listed can be appreciated by all genders. Further, I hypothesis that female favourites actually *don?t* fare much better as far as the test goes (and looking my close friends top tens, I see sort-of proof. But I?ve yet to reach a consensus on anything.)

The test isn?t about films-being-about-men. Some of my top 10 have female protagonists or issues but don?t pass the test (and vice-versa) and if they do, barely, with a lot of concessions and general ehhhhness. Besides, more posters than I thought profess a love for Alien and Aliens; maybe it?s not so hard to project onto a protagonist of the opposite gender? But that isn?t what the test is about. It?s about film and representation (and lets be honest, the test should be easy to pass.)

But you raised a good point and it makes me wonder about films other than our favourites, or much more significantly, film and the film industry in general. I want to explore this avenue, don?t you want to join me? Maybe there?s *something* to all this? I don?t know yet. What?re your favourite films?

p.s. I?ve watched many of the feminist frequency videos and found much I was unhappy or even angry with. It?s a real shame. :-(
 

PsychedelicDiamond

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I don't think this test works. You see, most movies only show us the protagonists dialogue. I mean, yeah, sometimes you see sidecharacters talking but that's sorta rare. Now, the thing is: If the maincharacter is male it probably doesn't pass. The chance that you see two female sidecharacters share dialogue (and a movie with a male protagonist usually has less female sidecharacters than male ones) isn't that big. Let's look at some of my favourite films:

A Clockwork Orange (male protagonist): No sir. As far as i remember the only women in the movie are the protagonists mother and two girls he has sex with. The latter two may have shared some dialogue but i don't think so.

Mulholland Drive: (two maincharacters, both women): Of course. Duh. It revolves around the relationship of two women so of course they share a lot of dialogue.

Synecdoche New York: (male protagonist) I think so. At least the protagonist wife and his daughter shared some dialogue.

Southland Tales: (Quite a lot of maincharacters): Yeah. A movie with so many different characters and storylines has obviously some occasions of women talking with each other. A lot of them, actually.

Adolescence of Utena: (Female protagonist): Kinda the same as with Mulholland Drive. Seeing how it is about topics like homosexuality, adolescense and the objectification of women there's obviously a pretty big focus on interactions between its female characters.

Hallmarks Alice in Wonderland (by the way the only good adaption of that book): (female protagonist): Sure.
 

Alternative

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fight club : no
reservoir dogs: no
the dark knight: no
Jurassic park: no
mighty morphing power rangers: yes

so 1/5 passes.
 

MetalMagpie

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Saladfork said:
IndomitableSam said:
I'm wracking my brain over Gladiator, but I don't think Lucilla talks to anyone but her father/brother/son/Maximus... Boo. Unless the whole "People of Rome" speech at the end counts.... No?

Shame on you, Mr. Scott. Seems like few of your movies pass the test.
Just because it isn't Bechdel-approved doesn't mean it's not a good or even great movie. The Thing, for example, is an amazing movie, and I don't recall there being a single woman in the entire movie.
Exactly. All the Bechdel test is meant to indicate is whether or not a film has a reasonable female presence. There are a lot of types of films where a female presence would be strange. (E.g. A film set entirely in the trenches during WW1.)
 

Popadoo

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...sounds like a pretty pointless test to be honest.
My favorite film is up, and I think it only has ONE named female character that I can remember (Ellie). And she's not even alive for the vast majority of it.
 

Dastardly

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Scrustle said:
I bet you're going to get a lot of hate for saying that, but I agree to an extent. This test is treated as some kind of litmus test as to whether a film is sexist or not, but it's nothing of the sort. All it takes to pass the test is for one female character to say something like "nice weather today, isn't it?" to another. It in no way shows anything about how women are treated in the film. Like with my example, it doesn't seem to pass the test yet it's not sexist at all. In fact it's quite the opposite.
Only if you misunderstand what a litmus test is.

A litmus test doesn't indicate whether a substance is "good" or "bad." It simply indicates the presence of acids or bases. It's not a value judgment, but a measurement of content.

The Bechdel test is just meant to provide "food for thought." It eliminates movies in which the female characters serve only as plot devices or sexual/comedic props for the male characters. And believe me, it's actually a little harder to pull off than you might think.

Giving two characters names, for instance. That requires screen time and establishment, and there are plenty of editors who'll say, "Are these characters going to do something important? No? Then let's cut this 5-second scene where we introduce them."

But something else to consider, since the Bechdel test is just meant to start us thinking: Like any test, it doesn't have to just be pass/fail. We could expand the idea into how many seconds of screen time these "Bechdel interactions" occupy, or we could think percentages, or we could just estimate. Not that it really matters.

If a movie is doing the "Hey, how's the weather?" thing you mentioned, just to fulfill the Bechdel test, then that's progress -- they're thinking about the issue, even if only peripherally.

In short, the test isn't mean to "prove" anything. It's meant to provoke thought on the matter.