The Man Who Envied Women

Around a familiar theme – the breakup of a marriage – Yvonne Rainer constructs a wickedly funny account of a self-satisfied womaniser. Sitting in a chair facing the camera, Jack Deller rambles on about women, whose visual absence runs through the entire film. On the soundtrack we hear their questions and comments, by turns enraged or laconic, both stressing and also subverting Deller’s self-assured discourse. The spoken words are taken from texts found in film and everyday culture, from poststructuralist, psychoanalytic and feminist theory. Aside from the theme of the failed (heterosexual) relationship, further fields of conflict get explored – the housing shortage and gentrification in New York during the 1980s, abortion rights, the violent interventions of the US in Latin America. A never-ending collage made up of contradictory levels of meaning results in producing ever new connections and contexts. “Rainer is not trying for some kind of well-mannered correctness or a masterly, fatherly notion of ‘transcendent intellectual clarity’; rather, she tends toward a type of tumbling process, an unbalancing of power, language, and the body.” (Barbara Kruger, Artforum 1986)
by Yvonne Rainer
with Jackie Raynal, Anne Friedberg, Larry Loonin, Trisha Brown
USA 1985 English 125’ Colour European premiere


  • Jackie Raynal
  • Anne Friedberg
  • Larry Loonin
  • Trisha Brown


Director Yvonne Rainer
Screenplay Yvonne Rainer
Cinematography Mark Daniels
Editing Yvonne Rainer, Christine Le Goff
Sound Helene Kaplan
Assistant Director Christine Le Goff
Producer Yvonne Rainer

World sales

Kino Lorber

Yvonne Rainer

Yvonne Rainer is an American choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker. A pioneering figure of the American avant-garde movement with a career spanning over five decades across dance and film, Rainer’s artistic work has emphasized minimalism and experimentalism and has challenged conventional form to explore subversive political and social themes. Rainer’s genre-defining work and collaboration with other artists has earned her a MacArthur Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and three Rockefeller Fellowships, among other accolades. She is widely regarded as one of the most influential performance artists of the twentieth century. Rainer is professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine and currently lives and works in New York.


1972 Lives of Performers; 90 min. 1974 Film About a Woman Who ...; 105 min. 1976 Kristina Talking Pictures; 90 min. 1980 Journeys from Berlin/1971; 125 min. 1985 The Man Who Envied Women 1990 Privilege; 103 min. 1996 MURDER and murder; 113 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023