Bechdel Test Movie List

/bech·del test/ n.
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

[[1]] Django Unchained (2012) [imdb]

This movie passed 1 of 3 tests. It was entered by olnoseven on 2012-12-31 15:46:31.

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olnoseven said:
It took me several hours after this film to realize that while there was a central female character to the film who has a name and speaks, that she was merely a trope or goal for the protagonists to reach. Once there, she barely says anything or is more than just an object of the film. Other women speak, but I don't remember them speaking to anyone but the men in the movie.
Message posted on 2012-12-31 15:46:31
zkap said:
I think the most female-female interaction was one of the white women giving an order to a slave girl, who responds with a "Yes'm" or something to that effect. This movie is completely male-dominated, with Django playing the valiant hero to the helpless female character.
Message posted on 2013-01-06 09:18:35
Amanda said:
The only instance (from my point of view) when I believe two female characters are speaking to each other they are not exactly alone since a man is involved in the conversation (and they talk about him as well as the beauty of a female slave, one of the women that is). This is when Brunhilda is going into Dr. King Schultz's room
Message posted on 2013-01-20 21:27:31
ibsen said:
well... I think the movie is proven to be a western? and not a realtime of 2100 cent. where women had little or nothing to say to a man.. I think it is called realism!
Message posted on 2013-02-03 12:17:15
chrissi said:
I think it's also interesting, that the film only scarcely passes the race-bechdeltest.
Or am I mistaken? The only conversations I think may qualify are 1.) 2 or 3 sentences Django says to Boomhilda after rescuing her, 2.) the conversation where Stephen finds out Django is Hildi's husband, 3.) when Django wants the other slaves to hand him the dynamite, and 4.) the conversation between Django and Stephen before he destroys the house (although I don't remember what exactly they said, might be that conversation is mainly about white people).
So that makes 3 or 4 conversations (two of which are really short) in a film thats really really long and that claims to be for the benefit of black people.
Message posted on 2013-02-04 02:56:15
Matt said:
It's a shame because apparently Zoe Bell's character (female with a bandana) was going to be greatly expanded and given a backstory. Female parts tended to suffer when it came to editing
Message posted on 2013-03-08 14:46:38
luminum disagreed with the rating and said:
I think this film has a dubious pass, depending on the threshold of "talking to each other."

Miss Lara tells Broomhilda to speak in German, though technically it's a clearly implied to be a command to speak German to please Dr. Shultz. Broomhilda then speaks in German to Shultz, so she doesn't reply to Miss Lara.

Later, when Cora is called into the dining room, she asks Broomhilda why she's all unbuttoned and chastises her saying how much time she spent dressing her up, though Broomhilda isn't heard to say anything in response.

Likewise, near the end, Django instructs Cora to say goodbye to Miss Lara. Cora turns and says goodbye to Miss Lara, who obviously never has a chance to say anything back.

So women definitely talk to other women, but whether they talk with one another is different. Either way, it's not too long or meaningful of exchanges.

That's a shame to hear about Zoe Bell. I thought something was supposed to happen with the female plantation worker, and then the movie ended, and nothing came of it. That's so strange, considering that she's clearly become one of Tarantino's "actors" after all her stunt work in Kill Bill and her casting in Death Proof. He likes her enough to keep hiring her in these roles and for such a role to get cut is very disappointing.

Chrissi, I never heard this movie claiming to be of "benefit to black people." I'm not even sure how a movie about a gunslinging action hero in the pre-Civil War era could truly "benefit" anyone, even if it discusses racial issues. It's a Tarantino splatter spaghetti Western. I'm not even sure how this movie passing the racial Bechdel test WOULD benefit black people. It's not that deep, nor does it claim the pretension of being deep enough to speak to the true issues of racism in America and what it means to be black in the contemporary United States.

Anyway, the film definitely has a clear pass for the racial Bechdel test, which would be at least two named people of color speaking to one another about something other than a white person:

- Betina and Django have a lengthy conversation as she shows him around the plantation. Some of the conversation involves the Brikle Brothers, but Betina and Django talk about his real status as a free man and she questions his choice of clothing.

- Django orders all of Candi's slaves around, confronting Rodney about giving him the eye, and Rodney is forced to respond to his questions about whether Rodney has a problem with him.

- Stephen and Cora banter about what's going on and about her backside.

- Stephen confronts Broomhilda about knowing Django at different times in the film, both of which are isolated and lengthy conversations that clearly pass.

- As noted above, Cora questions Broomhilda about her state of dress after Candi strips her, though Broomhilda says nothing back to her.

- Stephen orders all the men to stop shooting and tells Django that he has Broomhilda hostage. He orders him to surrender and they will not shoot her. Django and he have a conversation about why Django should trust what he says. Meanwhile, Broomhilda tells Django not to surrender and to let her go. Django says that he can't do that and he tells Stephen that he surrenders.

- After Django is captured, Stephen has a lengthy conversation about having Django sent to the mines rather than having him castrated. He begins by introducing it as something he suggested to Miss Lara, but the conversation is really about what will happen to Django, not about Miss Lara.

- Django tells Rodney and the other slaves to give him the dynamite, but they don't say anything back to him, despite following his orders. (In the post-credits stinger, one of the unnamed slaves asks Rodney and the other slave who Django was.)

- Django tells Broomhilda it's him when they reunite.

- After shooting Miss Lara, Django tells Cora and Sheba to run away as far as they can.

- Django and Stephen have a very lengthy conversation at the end about what Django will do to Stephen, though Candi is mentioned a bit. Stephen rants and raves as Django leaves about what they'll do to him once they've come and found him. You could argue that "they" refers to unspecified white people in charge, but it's really just Stephen ranting in rage against Django.

- Finally, Django and Broomhilda talk and exchange terms of endearment with one another.

There are more than enough conversations that happen in the film for it to pass (and more than a lot of the films for the regular Bechdel test get by on). Of course, it would be a lot better if more films passed the racial Bechdel test in films that WEREN'T about slavery, such as films that just happen to have people of color in them instead of films that automatically necessitate having people fo color as characters because of such an obvious set up.
Message posted on 2013-03-10 08:50:16
TornadoCreator said:
This film admittedly fails the Bechdel Test, sort of, while named women do speak to each other it's pretty much always about a man or at the direction of a man.

The problem is, this is the stylised story of bounty hunters and slaves in the late 1800's, and honestly, women should be practically absent in the film for it to remain consistent. People bring up the "race Bechdel" test, and I can see why but it's largely missing the point. There's no Chinese, gay, or disabled people in this film by the way, but shockingly you don't see them complaining. Sometimes the overwhelming desire to be politically correct blinds people to the flaws in expecting all demographics to be displayed.

This is one of the many examples of a film that has genuine reason to be coincidentally male focused and unlike films set in contemporary times that fail this test, this film is entirely enjoyable despite this fact. Honestly, I would struggle to find a way for this film to pass the Bechdel test without including, in an already very long film, a vestigial and pointless filler scene for the sole purpose of passing this test.
Message posted on 2013-04-25 02:37:01
Tali said:
"it wouldn't be realistic" is a frequently used defense for women to have no input in anything prior to 1950. of course its not true, but people keep saying it anyway.
Message posted on 2013-06-20 03:55:46
Liney said:
@TornadoCreator, while there are no Chinese characters or disabled characters in the film, there are a plethora of female characters. Simply because this test points out the discrepancy between the representation of men and women in film does not mean that the people posting about this do not consider a more equal representation of Chinese-Americans, disabled peoples or any other under-represented group in film.
Additionally, the bachdel test is not a thing made to complain, it is an instrument used to demonstrate the level of representation of women in film.
And why SHOULD women be practically absent from a film in which they OBVIOUSLy are present on screen? Because it has to follow previously set rules for a western film? Tarantino clearly set his own rules for his films, so I don't see why that is an issue.

Also, I enjoyed the film tremendously, but I still see the lack of 3-dimensional female characters as a significant flaw. There are PLENTY of opportunities in which female characters could have been developed, but they weren't. Broomhilda is the most obvious option. She's been caught escaping several times, why not have a conversation between her and her husband about those things. While she attempts escape time and time again, in the end she functions primarily as the damsel in distress.

People who don't want to address faults in their films cry "political correctness" as if that makes the critique any less real.
Message posted on 2013-07-04 22:37:44
trina B said:
TornadoCreator, I think people tend to miss the point of the test. It's not a judgement value on a particular movie, nor does it come with an expectation that all movies must meet the bechdel requirement. the test is a tool used to gauge the industry as a whole: what percentage of films pass overall, versus what percent doesn't? Of course some movies, for example shawshank redemption, aren't going to pass because it would wouldn't fit with the story. but the point is, how often does the film industry think to tell OUR STORIES? This isn't about one film passing by throwing in one token conversation between two women who have no relevance to a plot, it's about directors and screenwriters telling women't stories at an equal frequency as they do men: It's about making movies where women carry the same level of importance as dudes.
Message posted on 2013-07-04 23:46:20
Wiggle said:
Good points. But ARGHHH IT'S BRUNNHILDE!!! With a nice ummlaut on the u.
Message posted on 2013-09-23 17:25:52

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