Bechdel Test Rating for Movies Introduced in Sweden

In October 2013, four Swedish movie theaters started using a Bechdel Test rating for the films they show.

The Guardian reports:

“‘The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test,’ said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm’s trendy Södermalm district.

“Bio Rio is one of four Swedish cinemas that launched the new rating last month to draw attention to how few movies pass the Bechdel test. Most filmgoers have reacted positively to the initiative. ‘For some people it has been an eye-opener,’ said Tejle.

“Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see ‘a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them’, Tejle said, noting that the rating doesn’t say anything about the quality of the film. ‘The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens,’ [s]he added.”

According to the Guardian, the Swedish Film Institute supports the initiative and the Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film says it will do so as well.

My 2 cents: The Bechdel Test is not without problems, but the same applies to the current movie ratings as well. This voluntary effort is nevertheless a step in the right direction: drawing attention to the need for more nuanced characters and writing in movies.

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