TWO WOMEN Thames TV
Writer/ Director/ Producer: Mira Hamermesh
The film TWO WOMEN poses the question as to how women’s position stands in a Europe divided by the Iron Curtain in the seventies, in the rich West ruled by capitalism and in the Eastern European countries ruled by a Soviet-dominated version of communism. Approaching the subject matter, director Mira Hamermesh has gone against the grain. Instead of selecting a Wester woman from amongst the privileged middle classes, she selects a working woman from the Midlands.
And in Hungary, contrary to expectations and pressures of the Ministry of Information, who tried to foist on her a working-class woman, she went for a privileged, highly educated and cultured woman, who was also an active Party member.
The film juxtaposes the lives of two diverse representatives of women: Mary, a 33-year-old English factory worker and housewife, and Ssuza, a 37-year-old Hungarian graduate engineer. The two women are obviously different. Mary left school at 15, worked in a Birmingham engineering factory, became a shop steward, married ad started a family. Ssuza, in Hungary, appears to be intellectual, introverted and earnest. She has some nerve-wracking experiences in World War II and during the 1956riots, but she is now a successful computer engineer and studying for a Ph/d in Budapest and Moscow. She is married and childless.
The film moves seamlessly between Birmingham and Budapest, en route in each country listening to the voices of individual women, who without exception complain about feeling economically socially oppressed. At the end of the film, amid lively sequences of partying, both Ssuza and Mary seem to produce their attitudes to capitalism and communism with the words of ‘a curse on both your houses.”