Tag Archives: feminism

Take Cinema’s First Nasty Women home this summer

Yes, I have been hiding it very well, but I am actually a big fan of the Cinema’s First Nasty Women project. Who knew?

Co-curated by Laura Horak, Maggie Hennefeld and Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, the Nasty Women project has trawled the archives for trailblazing examples of female energy, anger, transgression, rebellions and explosive hilarity in early cinema. The films have been shown at festivals around the globe and this summer you can take them home with you, courtesy of Kino Lorber, in the form of an “irreverent” four-disc box set, available in both DVD and Blu-ray flavours. Here’s the official spiel:

Continue reading Take Cinema’s First Nasty Women home this summer

Nasty Women at Hippfest: The Night Rider and Rowdy Ann

This blogpost is a version of the introduction I was honoured to give at the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival on Friday for the Nasty Women: Gender Rebels double-bill. The films were brilliantly accompanied by Meg Morley, and the festival continues all weekend.

Welcome to the world of Nasty Women. Cinema’s First Nasty Women is a curatorial project from two American academics, Maggie Hennefeld and Laura Horak. The name is taken from Donald Trump’s notorious remark about Hillary Clinton, and for the past five years, Hennefeld and Horak have been screening films that reveal women being transgressive, riotous and unbiddable on the silent screen at festivals around the world.

This May you will be able to take the nasty women home with you on a four-disc DVD and Blu-ray box set, containing 99 films, dating back to the very beginnings of cinema, sourced from a dozen international archives. It will be crammed with “feminist protest, anarchic, destructive slapstick, and suggestive gender play”.

Continue reading Nasty Women at Hippfest: The Night Rider and Rowdy Ann

Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2019: Pordenone Post No 4

Still mooning about the goat-herder? Another Giornate blogpost will take your mind off it, Marion.

One of the beauties of Pordenone is the fact that the programme is so omnivorous, ranging far and wide over the first four decades of film history, and the audience are equally diverse. No doubt the main attraction of today, the headline act as it were, was the Hollywood comedy double-bill that played this evening. While I enjoy Marion Davies and Laurel and Hardy as much as the next silent cinema blogger, like everyone here I have my own particular passions that draw me back to the Verdi every year.

So it was that I woke up this morning most excited to see an eleven-minute film playing in the middle of the morning: Gerolamo Lo Savio’s 1909 Otello. Yes, I am a silent Shakespeare fan and this was my treat for the day. Stencil-colour, Venetian location shooting, a passionate but hardly Moorish Othello (I think it was the divine Michelle Facey sho said that meant he was surely “lessish”) and a nicely malevolent Iago made this a Shakespeare to savour, even if inevitably one had to devour it in one small mouthful. The colour was especially memorable here – notably a brief bloom of scarlet at Othello’s throat as he dies. An attractive and unexpected gory entry in the silent Shakespeare canon. Continue reading Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2019: Pordenone Post No 4

Agnès Varda, 30 May 1928 – 29 March 2019

Agnès Varda died on Friday – an event that I had to mark in some way. There is no real connection between Varda and silent cinema, apart from that irreverent interlude in Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962). However, her films meant a great deal to me, so this is a very small tribute. This video is a condensed version of a talk I gave at BFI Southbank on 2 June last year as part of an event called The Many Faces of Agnès Varda, in collaboration with Cléo. I was asked to discuss women and feminism in Varda’s films. Here are a few thoughts, inspired by her beautiful body of work.

If you don’t know her work, two of the films that I discuss here, Le Bonheur (1965) and Vagabond (1985), are streaming on Mubi right now. I highly recommend both.

Women Make Film History at the Women’s Library

A quick mention for this event at the Women’s Libary on Saturday, which comprises a screening of several feminist films, followed by a discussion led by a panel including Professor June Purvis and Christine Gledhill.

The screening kicks off with some silents of course: four militant suffrage comedies from 1910. Sounds great.

Tickets are £8 or £6 for concessions.

The afternoon screenings illustrate women’s relationship with the cinema through a wide range of films, moving from early suffragette films which demonstrate cinema’s role – not always complimentary – in making visible women’s political activity in the public sphere, to women’s later use of film to examine what it means to be a woman in the workplace, and finally to the flowering of women’s alternative practices using animation.