This week we, the film’s producers, have been pondering something that uniquely connects us to our subject – satirical photographer and art activist, Suzanne Heintz. We have all recently hit our 50s, and spent the last two decades funneling our creative energy in to projects using the medium of visual storytelling. From the standpoint of about 25 years each working in multimedia (film/television/online publishing/photography), we have been part of a generation of women edging their way forward in previously male dominated spheres and we refuse to be sidelined by ageism and sexism.
As pioneering female comedians like Carol Burnett and Joan Rivers have shown us, it is very important to keep on shouting and making a fuss – sometimes take on different personas, wear outrageous clothing, and not be afraid to look grotesque. (Thank you to the characterizations of Patsy & Eddy, in Absolutely Fabulous, for keeping up the good work)!
Suzanne Heintz is doing this in her own unique way, as exemplified by the original and unusual birthday greetings she sent us both this month. (See below!). Heintz uses comedy to assert herself in a wonderfully subversive way. She is not unlike Queen Elizabeth I, who dabbed herself in white powder and wore elaborate jeweled gowns well into her 60s. This let her reinforce her Virgin Queen image, and retain power from plenty of scheming male courtiers who wanted to marry her and erode her rule.
But Heintz’s latest and brilliant comedic turn on camera for our birthdays really reminds us that women do need to keep on protesting against being made invisible, and not deemed relevant by the mainstream when they reach a certain age. In an interview about the release of Absolutely Fabulous: the movie, Jennifer Saunders says the heart of the film is about Patsy and Eddy “reaching an age where the world isn’t that kind to them any more. A sort of loss of expectation.”
We are still here – being defiant, making art, photography and film, creatively fulfilling lives and offering inspiring stories we all need to hear. And yes, maybe sometimes we are behaving a bit badly!