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Early Women Filmmakers
An International Anthology

Early Women Filmmakers - An International Anthology
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24 videos in this collection

Les Chiens Savants
Typical of Gaumont's output at the time and an example of cinema's early presentational style, this humorous "demonstration" film showcases a vaudeville act featuring a Miss Dundee and her trained…
Mabel's Strange Predicament
This short farce is often only discussed as the vehicle for the onscreen debut of Chaplin's iconic Tramp (here more lecherous and inebriated than later incarnations). However, Normand, who also…
The Star Prince
Brandeis was just 21-years-old when she wrote and directed this feature-length fairytale/fantasy about a boy who falls to earth on a star and his ensuing adventures. With a cast comprised…
La Cigarette
Dulac's earliest extant title, LA CIGARETTE concerns a liberated young woman and her older husband who believes she is having an affair--speaking to a real postwar crisis of masculinity in…
La Souriante Madame Beudet
Considered one of Dulac's most feminist films, it is also a crucial step in her continuing de-emphasis of traditional narrative structures in favor of visual association. This impressionist film offers…
The Peasant Women of Ryazan
Returning to a pre-Russian Revolution mode of narrative storytelling, this melodrama focuses on two peasant women--one the victim to an abusive father-in-law and the other emancipated. Preobrazhenskaia takes her time,…
Le Roi des Aulnes
This early sound drama was Iribe's second directorial effort and uses cinematic techniques to visualize Goethe's 1782 ballad ERLKONIG and Schubert's later musical adaptation. Produced by Iribe's Les Artistes Reunis,…
Harlequin
Reiniger had already completed her full-length masterpiece THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED (1926) when she made this animated tale of romance at the age of 32. A love story set…
The Stolen Heart
Based on a fable by Ernst Keienburg, this short drama exhibits an entrancing sense of space. As a story about a monstrous man who steals a town's musical instruments, scholars…
Papageno
An example of Reiniger's animated music films based on opera, PAPAGENO is filled with impeccable attention to detail. Papageno, a birdcatcher from Mozart's "The Magic Flute," idles his time with…
A Night on Bald Mountain
Taking 18 months to complete, this dizzyingly surreal pinscreen animation interprets music by Mussorgsky as interplay between shadow/light, permanence/impermanence, motion/stillness, human/animal, and night/day. Parker and Alexeieff slowly created the imagery…
Une Histoire Roulante
In this pun-titled Gaumont comedy, a man rests in a barrel that gets pushed down a hill. The ensuing short is an advanced study on cinematic space and captures the…
The Woman Condemned
This low-budget and shadowy twist-filled procedural was the last film that Reid directed and combines the straightforward approach of a silent era drama or thriller with the dizzying absurdity and…
Day of Freedom
Taking its title from the Nuremburg Rally of 1935, this short documentary presents the armed forces of the Third Reich as an efficient system of bodies and machines in motion.…
Parabola
Produced by Bute's company Expanding Cinema and made in collaboration with Ted Nemeth and sculptor Rutherford Boyd, PARABOLA is a celebration of film's ability to create new ways of seeing…
Spook Sport
SPOOK SPORT announces itself as a new kind of film ballet comprised of "color, music, and movement," and is a lively interpretation of a night at a graveyard where colored…
Meshes of the Afternoon
This avant-garde classic, made in collaboration with husband Alexander Hammid, is an important piece of feminist filmmaking. Of the film, with its subjective camera movement, jump cuts, and visual repetition,…
La Barricade
This historical drama, which depicts a young boy caught by accident in revolutionary conflict, is notable for its unceremonious depiction of a firing squad in action. Remarkable for its confident…
Falling Leaves
This straightforward family melodrama was filmed while Solax was still located in Flushing, New York. FALLING LEAVES echoes aspects of O'Henry's 1907 short story "The Last Leaf" and depicts the…
Making an American Citizen
While this film is, according to film historian Alison McMahan, "'against' the oppression of women," it "tells us more about the social and economic pressures to 'Americanize'" and assimilate foreigners…
The Girl in the Armchair
In this drama about a man's gambling addiction and the woman who loves him, Guy Blache is a master of cinematic space and skillfully stages the action in the foreground…
Suspense
Weber stars as a young mother who is home alone when a burglar enters her house in this visually captivating and stylistically advanced thriller. The chase scene, the use of…
Discontent
Weber also provided the script for this short family drama, which follows a discontented Civil War veteran who leaves the old soldier's home and moves in with his wealthy nephew.…
The Blot
The last film made under the banner of Lois Weber Productions, this moral drama, also written by Weber, tackles issues of class and economic inequality, "exploring the 'blot' of society's…

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