Taking A Part and its sister film Doll’s Eye are both experimental films that straddle the boundaries of
fiction and documentary, disrupting traditional narratives about women and class.
The protagonists of Taking A Part sometimes read from a book and sometimes speak ‘spontaneously’ directly to camera about the lives and opinions of two young women who have recently moved to London from the
Midlands. It is difficult to know if these women are reading their personal diaries or if they are actors reading from a script. This uncertainty is deliberate; intending to be unsettling to the audience, leaving them unable to easily relax as they seek to locate themselves in relation to these characters.
Doll’s Eye takes conventional documentary material -a selection of male views on women- and incorporates it,
unchanged, into the fabric of a fiction film. The male voices form the backdrop to the film, lingering in the air like everyday pollution, invading the space of three London women as they struggle to live their lives in the shabby yet glittering mythical city. The story is told through a series of tableaux, the male voices permeating the frames like fog, shrouding the edges of clarity with contradictory assertions.
‘Perhaps the first real feminist film on prostitution…a million miles away from the victim mentality of
-Jill Nichols and Angela Phillips, The Guardian
‘Tracing in fiction the contours of Thatcher’s Britain’
-Sylvia Harvey, Framework
‘Jan Worth has created a really tight film which…exposes the documentary form as an artifice like any other’
- Jane Clarke and Helen Mackintosh, Time Out
‘The film does not seek to fill the old dictates with new ones’
-Joanna Blythman, The Leveller
‘A daunting picture of incomprehension and abuse’
Doll’s Eye and Taking A Part function as both an ode and an antidote to the British social realism genre,posing the question who is looking at whom for what purpose, and how does this operates to limit and define political action and philosophy.
Both films are available to watch or purchase on the BFI Player: