Longinotto (born 1952) is a British documentary filmmaker,
well known for making films that highlight the plight of female
victims of oppression or discrimination. Longinotto studied camera
and directing at the National Film and Television School in
Beaconsfield, England, where she now tutors occasionally.
born to an Italian father and a Welsh mother; her father was a
photographer who later went bankrupt. At the age of 10 she was sent
to a draconian all-girls boarding school, where she found it hard to
make friends due to the mistress forbidding anyone to talk to her
for a term after she became lost during a school trip. After a
period of homelessness, Longinotto went on to Essex University to
study English and European literature and later followed friend and
future filmmaker, Nick Broomfield to the National Film and
Television School. While studying, she made a documentary about her
boarding school that was shown at the London Film Festival, since
when she has continued to be a prolific documentary filmmaker.
Longinotto is an
observational filmmaker. Observational cinema, also known as direct
cinema, free cinema or cinema verite, usually excludes certain
documentary techniques such as advanced planning, scripting,
staging, narration, lighting, reenactment and interviewing.
Longinotto’s unobtrusiveness, which is an important part of
observational documentary, gives the women on camera a certain voice
and presence that may not have emerged with another documentary
genre. She has received a number of awards for her films over the
years, including a BAFTA for her documentary Pink Saris.