Directed by Bette Gordon

Directed by Bette Gordon

8 Episodes

Emerging from the avant-garde underground of the 1970s and ’80s, Bette Gordon made her mark with stylishly subversive investigations of sexuality and gender roles that invert genre expectations with their feminist themes. Following a string of groundbreaking experimental shorts—including the structuralist landmark THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, codirected with James Benning—Gordon made her narrative feature debut with VARIETY, a noir-tinged study of voyeurism, pornography, and fantasy that turns the conventional male gaze back on itself. Fifteen years later, Gordon followed it up with LUMINOUS MOTION, a similarly provocative, dreamlike thriller about a mother and son who share an unsettling bond.

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Directed by Bette Gordon
  • Bette Gordon Interview

    Episode 1

    This new interview with filmmaker Bette Gordon was recorded in 2020.

  • Michigan Avenue

    Episode 2

    Directed by Bette Gordon and James Benning • 1973 • United States

    Bette Gordon’s first film, made in collaboration with James Benning, is both an investigation of the relationship between two women and a formalist study of cinematic syntax.

  • I-94
    Episode 3


    Episode 3

    Directed by Bette Gordon and James Benning • 1974 • United States

    Bette Gordon and James Benning use optical printing effects to create, in their words, “intercourse between two people who never appear on the screen at the same time.”

  • The United States of America

    Episode 4

    Directed by Bette Gordon and James Benning • 1975 • United States

    One of the major works of the structuralist film movement of the 1970s is a richly revealing portrait of Vietnam-era America as seen through the windshield of the filmmakers’ car while on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles.

  • Empty Suitcases

    Episode 5

    Directed by Bette Gordon • 1980 • United States
    Starring Rosemary Hochschild, Ron Vawler, Vivienne Dick

    Bette Gordon explores the cinematic representation of women in this feminist experimental work, which, in the words of the filmmaker, centers on “women’s inability to place and define themselv...

  • Anybody’s Woman

    Episode 6

    Directed by Bette Gordon • 1981 • United States
    Starring Nancy Reilly, Spalding Gray, Mark Boone Junior

    A precursor to Bette Gordon’s feature debut VARIETY, this lo-fi No Wave provocation shot on Super 8 features Wooster Group members Spalding Gray and Nancy Reilly discussing their erotic fantas...

  • Variety
    Episode 7


    Episode 7

    Directed by Bette Gordon • 1983 • United States
    Starring Sandy McLeod, Will Patton, Richard M. Davidson

    The provocative, sexually charged tale of a woman’s journey of self-discovery, Bette Gordon’s independent landmark offers a bold challenge to conventional notions of feminism and pornography. ...

  • Luminous Motion

    Episode 8

    Directed by Bette Gordon • 1998 • United States
    Starring Deborah Kara Unger, Eric Lloyd, Terry Kinney

    Bette Gordon’s follow-up to her groundbreaking feminist noir VARIETY is a hallucinatory erotic thriller that is no less subversive. Deborah Kara Unger stars as an unnamed hustler who seduces and...