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  • A Woman's Case, the only feature film directed by Jacques Katmor, a prominent member of the Tel Aviv artist collective Third Eye Group, is an avant-garde condemnation of the dehumanizing side effects of modern life.

    It's a simple story of a woman hooking up with an advertising executive and being found dead, the underlying theme of which seems to be a portrait of the times when materialism started to take off in popular culture and people, specifically models, being treated as disposable faces and bodies, without much individuality and with almost masochistic compliance to the society's whims. The message thankfully isn't preachy, and since Helit Katmor, the leading actress, is beyond beautiful, the movie is a really easy watch. She later became known for her translations of Proust into Hebrew while Jacques Katmor sadly became a tragic figure over time, sinking into alcohol and drug addiction.

    The grainy B&W visuals are typical for the '60s counter-culture aesthetic but still very lovely - melancholic and playful at the same time. There are many vignettes in this film set to excellent psychedelic rock (more precisely, the song "Open Up Your Eyes (Take a Look Around You)" by The Churchills, recorded for the film) and containing mostly of surreal imagery, dance scenes, depictions of women being bound or choked, as well as countless pop-art pictures, comic book panels, naked photos, all portraying the female body in one or another way. Naturally, the visual appeal of these erotic images is lost very quickly because of how numerous and repetitive they are, but that seems to be the point.

    This is an excellent and criminally neglected art film, somewhat stylistically reminiscent of the Japanese New Wave films by Toshio Matsumoto and Susumu Hani, made in the exact same time as this one was. Highly recommended.

    There's also a funny little hourglass joke/anecdote towards the end of the film, which I'll definitely be stealing.
  • The human body as a mound of flesh, ranging from sensual to repulsive in a matter of seconds. Cosmetic beauty spiraling into disquieting body horror, not from disfigurements, but continual exposure to attractive physiques, robbing the individual of "self" until only limbs, breasts, lips, and the vague resemblance of a person, remains. Fascinations with anatomy made to dehumanize its subject with suffocating blocking and compositions, not too dissimilar from other 1969 films, Funeral Parade of Roses and Eros + Massacre. Feminine heat, bodies writhing and contorting to psychedelic sounds and emerging trends. Trends that still color the imaginations of filmmakers today.

    The male gaze weaponized, reducing women to corporeal commodities, objectification as venture capital or "art," depending on the clientele. The proliferation of sex as a mainstay in pop culture's lexicon shown explicitly. God is a woman and society never hesitates to exploit her. Flesh and landscape made to be one and the same. Matched by an erratic editing style that helps create temporal distortion, collapsing time, making all actions and gestures seem reactionary. Which also reflected the restlessness of society during this period, with its ceaseless march forward. There's no moment to rest in the tides of perpetual change. The luxuries of "taking it slow," along with traditional values, died, another casualty of a post-war world. A generation of rebellious youth whose maturation period in the 60s resulted in an era of openly resentful attitudes towards the nuclear family and all that it came to represent, while conversely, engaging in open acts of free love and experimentation, creating a new normal. It's this very attitude that the film reflects best.

    A Woman's Case is yet another radical film made during an era when bucking against old-hat methods of storytelling seemed instinctual. A time when expanding cinema's language and creating new forms of expression in the process was almost a sink-or-swim mentality. In hindsight, this very refusal to compromise has granted this film, and many like it, an extended shelf-life. A film that's every bit as relevant and riveting in today's society as it was in the 60s counterculture that initially provided it a platform.

    While it may not have the same kind of reverence as other content from its time, it's every bit as deserving of your attention, and I highly suggest seeking it out if you have an affinity for films with a punk attitude.