B. Ruby Rich

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"Ruby Rich" redirects here. For the Australian social reformer, see Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales.
B. Rudy Rich
Born N/A
Boston, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Scholar, professor, film critic, editor

B. Ruby Rich is an American scholar, a critic of independent, Latin American, documentary, feminist, and queer films, and a professor of Film & Digital Media and Social Documentation (also known as "SocDoc") at UC Santa Cruz.[1] Among her other contributions, she is known for coining the term New Queer Cinema.

Rich began her career in film exhibition after graduating from college as co-founder of the Woods Hole Film Society. She then became associate director of what is now the Gene Siskel Film Center at the Art Institute of Chicago.[2] After working as film critic for the Chicago Reader, she moved to New York City[3] to become the director of the film program for the New York State Council on the Arts for a decade and began writing for the Village Voice. She then moved to San Francisco, where she began teaching: first, at the University of California, Berkeley, and now at UC Santa Cruz, as Professor of Film and Digital Media, specializing in the Social Documentation graduate program.

A working cultural theorist and critic since the mid-1970s, Rich has been closely identified with some important film movements, such as independent film in the U.S. and Europe, Latin American cinema and as one of the most important voices in feminist film criticism.

B. Ruby Rich appears in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism where she discusses the appeal of the film, Amélie, and expresses her desire for a new kind of criticism to emerge from young critics which goes beyond "the auteur theory."

The back cover of her classic 1998 book, Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement, reads, "If there was a moment during the sixties, seventies, or eighties that changed the history of the women's film movement, B. Ruby Rich was there. Part journalistic chronicle, part memoir, and 100 percent pure cultural historical odyssey, Chick Flicks – with its definitive, the way-it-was collective essays – captures the birth and growth of feminist film as no other book has done."

Rich's observations cover such things as travel, sex, and voodoo, as well as the anti-pornography movement, the films of Yvonne Rainer, a Julie Christie visit to Washington, and the historically evocative film Mädchen in Uniform.

She introduces each of her essays with an autobiographical prologue that describes the intellectual, political, and personal moments from which the work arose. She does this in the hope that a new generation of feminist film culture might be revitalized by reclaiming their history.

Her next book, New Queer Cinema: The Director's Cut, published in 2013, again by Duke University Press, has been widely reviewed and adopted for classes. No less than John Waters, Gus Van Sant, and Ann Cvetkovich appear on its back cover.

Rich is the recipient of the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and she is the recipient of the 2007 Brudner Memorial Prize at Yale University. In 2012, she was awarded the Frameline Award – the first critic to receive this honor since Vito Russo was given the very first one. In 2014, the Guadalajara Film Festival presented her with its "Queer Icon" Maguey Award.

B. Ruby Rich lives in San Francisco.

Influence in Film[edit]

Rich coined the term New Queer Theory in 1992 after writing an article in the Village Voice, which was reprinted in Sight and Sound and widely republished thereafter as The New Queer Cinema.[4] In the article, Rich discussed films which had LGBT characters but did not represent them in a positive way, breaking with a long political tradition. Her theories developed after several years of innovative growth among Queer film making in the midst of the AIDS crisis.[5]

Her presence at film festivals (such as Sundance, where she was an early member of the selection committee; TIFF, where she served as an international programmer in 2002; Telluride (where she was Guest Director in 1996); and Provincetown, where she appears every spring, has been significant. Together with that, her film reviews in major national publications, and her commentaries on the public broadcasting programs The World, Independent View, and All Things Considered, have secured her place as a central figure in cinema studies and culture, including—her term--"cinefeminism.[6]


Rich was a regular contributor to the Village Voice, as well as the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound. She has also contributed to The Guardian, the Nation, ELLE, Mirabella, The Advocate and Out. She was the founding editor of film/video reviews for GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies'[7]'. Today, she is the Editor in chief of Film Quarterly, the scholarly film journal published by UC Press, and her writing is focused there. Her editorials are always available free online at the Film Quarterly website, http://fq.ucpress.edu/.


  1. ^ UCSC.edu
  2. ^ "University Faculty Page". Film and Digital Media. USC Santa Cruz. n.d. Retrieved 11 April 2016.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  3. ^ "University Faculty Page". Film and Digital Media. USC Santa Cruz. n.d. Retrieved 11 April 2016.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ Hays, Matthew. "Beyond The Celluloid Closet." Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 20.4 (2013): 37. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.
  5. ^ Hays, Matthew. "Beyond The Celluloid Closet." Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 20.4 (2013): 37. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.
  6. ^ Myers, Emma (7, February, 2014). "CriticWire". Profiles in Criticism. CriticWire. Retrieved 11, April 2016. Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)"
  7. ^ "B. Ruby Rich". Brubyrich.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

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