A Quick Look at BAMcinemaFEST Docs: His & Hers


An ordered collage of brief, unidentified vignettes that draw a straight line through the life of the average Irish woman, His & Hers reveals its progressive structure as it goes. The novelty of this approach—director Ken Wardrop interviewed 70 women in the Irish midlands, from young daughters to old widows, about the men in their lives—is immediately apparent, as is its simple, anecdotal appeal: A series of adorable girls prattle on about the disciplinary whims of their dads; then come teenaged girls blushing madly about their beaus. Soon, the women are in their twenties, which means they talk of wedding dresses and setting up house. It’s around the birthing years that Wardrop’s extremely selective homemaker’s oral history—crafted to soothe with its placid framing and cheery, meditative tone—begins to close around you like doily-papered walls. The women are shot only in their homes, all decorated similarly and lit for maximum homogeneity, and perform various acts of domestic kabuki while chatting amiably—always amiably—about their unseen men. The film’s mild formal charms and occasional sweetness are essentially built on a suspension of feminist disbelief: The subjects represent half a dozen concurrent generations spanning a radical shift in how women exist in the world. I’m amazed that it’s even possible—much less acceptable—to make them all seem of a piece.