Who's Counting? | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Who's Counting?

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Who's Counting?

The subtitle of this feature-length documentary, "Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics," says it all: the socioeconomic order according to the New Zealand legislator turned gadfly. In 1975, at age 22, Waring became the youngest woman elected to her country's parliament. A budding feminist representing a rural, white, conservative constituency, she gained notoriety through her vociferous support of unpopular causes. Her most significant achievement, according to this adoring and well-intentioned portrayal from Canadian filmmaker Terre Nash, is her ongoing critique of mainstream economic ideas, such as the conventional view of productivity that ignores the contributions of housewives and "nonworking" women. Waring, both in lectures and in interviews, is presented as an unpretentious, engaging, and compassionate adversary of the establishment who offers provocative opinions on how society places its values. At times she unwittingly comes across--like her endorsers John Kenneth Galbraith and Gloria Steinem--high on polemics but low on logic. Yet her talks for the most part are lucid and accessible--a trait not shared by many social scientists. (Waring's extensive study of the role of women in economics is included in her book If Women Counted.) Though Nash--whose past profile subjects include Dr. Helen Caldicott and other assorted do-gooders--doesn't hide her biases, she's come up with a clear-headed tribute to a remarkable trailblazer who's now back on her New Zealand farm raising goats. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Tuesday and Thursday, August 20 and 22, 6:00, 443-3737.

--Ted Shen

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from Who's Counting?.

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