China Girls / Leader Ladies
October 7, 2011 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Girls on Film is a surreal short film starring a huge cast of China Girls / Leader Ladies. (previously) [via mefi projects]

Oblig, also. These should get you most of the way through the 8 minute video above, as an alternate/accompanying soundtrack.
posted by carsonb (7 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
“China Girls” (or “Leader Ladies,” as I like to call them) – the mysterious photographs of (usually) women that sometimes appear in the countdown that begins every reel of theatrical footage, often in the company of some color bars. Their images were used by film lab workers setting color timing or black and white density – and they were often film lab workers themselves.
posted by zamboni at 7:27 AM on October 7, 2011

No, Girls on Film is a music video for a Duran Duran song of the same name. It was directed by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. It had lots of T&A and I was impressionable.
posted by Trochanter at 10:26 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I love things like this. It's like finding ghosts from the past. Some of the leader ladies look so sad, though.
posted by katillathehun at 11:05 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Reminds me of one of my favorites: Standard Gauge, by Morgan Fisher.

As I recall, there's no consensus on how China Girls got their name...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:10 PM on October 7, 2011

I'm not even certain that they are routinely called "china girls" (or if there even is a formal name for them outside of individual groups of projectionists, archivists, or lab workers). I work with film - and many of my friends are projectionists and archivists - and I never heard them called anything at all until I did the background research and discovered the project at Harvard Film Archive that produced the "Girls on Film" short. I have an (unsubstantiated) theory that the proliferation of the "china girls" terminology has more to do with the fact that HFA used that term in their exhibition than with any standard booth or film lab jargon. But I know that they interviewed a lot of old Eastman Kodak guys for their research, so perhaps there is a real basis for it.
posted by bubukaba at 10:03 PM on October 7, 2011

I was not aware of this, so thanks for sharing.
posted by arcticseal at 2:48 AM on October 19, 2011

bubukaba, sorry, no. Fisher uses the term also, and his film was 1984. Googling turns up a paper by my colleague Genevieve: Flesh on Film.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:43 PM on October 21, 2011

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