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The Desert Is No Lady
A film by Shelley Williams in collaboration with Susan Palmer
1995, 45 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W99429
With provocative imagery and spirited juxtapositions, THE DESERT IS NO LADY looks at the Southwest through the eyes of its leading contemporary women artists and writers, including author Sandra Cisneros. The nine women profiled are Pat Mora (poet), Sandra Cisneros (writer), Lucy Tapahonso (poet), Emmi Whitehorse (painter), Harmony Hammond (painter), Meridel Rubinstein (photographer), Nora Naranjo Morse (sculptor), Pola Lopez de Jaramillo (painter) and Ramona Sakiestewa (tapestry artist). The Southwest is a border territory - where cultures meet and mix - and the work of these nine women from Pueblo, Navajo, Mexican-American and Anglo backgrounds reflects its special characteristics. THE DESERT IS NO LADY is a vibrant celebration of the diversity of women's creativity and changing multicultural America.

"An inspiring tapestry of history, imagination and daily life. I highly recommend it."
- Vicki L. Ruiz, Arizona State University

Discussion Guide Available


  • San Antonio Film Festival - Best Documentary
  • Internationale Biennale du Films Sur L'Art - Opening Night Film
  • Rocky Mountain Film Festival - Opening Night Film
  • Montreal Festival for Films on Art
  • The Art Film Festival Trencianske, Teplice, Slovakia
  • Cinewomen Festival, Norwich, England
  • Arizona Film Festival

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    "***1/2 Highly recommended. Visually stunning, the film features broad vistas and small artistic details."
    Video Librarian

    "...this film will be invaluable in courses in women's studies, American literature and art, and ethnic studies."
    Deborah Rosenfelt
    University of Maryland

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    The Desert Is No Lady is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us