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Germaine Dulac Archives – FutureFemme

Dorothy Arzner was an absolute boss who helped to pave the way for future generations of badass women in Hollywood and she joins the ranks of several other badass women who shook up the film industry and helped to move it forward.

Film has always been female: The badass bitches of old Hollywood

By News

Earlier this year, trailblazing industry pioneer Dorothy Arzner was paid tribute by Paramount when a dressing room building on the Melrose Avenue lot was dedicated in her name. Paramount Pictures’s CEO and chairman Jim Gianopulos shared a few touching sentiments about the phenomenal late director, stating: “Today we are doing our small part to honor her and to leave our own mark for the next generation rather than be the ones who failed to advance what she gave us.”

Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) was actually a student of Arzner’s when she taught at the UCLA Film School and shared anecdotes about the filmmaker at the special event. Coppola praised the filmmaker’s indelible spirit with some touching anecdotes. “She was salty and sort of tough, but had a heart as big as the world. Every time she came to class, she’d bring a big box of cookies or crackers because she knew we were starving to death. We had no money, but she had stuff so we could eat.”

Not only was Arzner one of the most prolific female directors under the studio era, but she was also an unequivocal badass who helped move the film industry forward. She was an openly queer director in an era when that was simply not the done thing, but she also filled her cinematic canon with independent, female protagonists and was the inventor of the boom mic (although her idea was never patented).

In short, Arzner was an absolute boss who helped to pave the way for future generations of badass women in Hollywood and she joins the ranks of several other badass women who shook up the film industry and helped to move it forward.

Lois Weber

Weber was the first female director to make a full-length film. She was so prolific, it’s believed she made as many as 400 movies during her career, of which only 20 survive today. The actor / director / screenwriter / producer pioneered the use of split-screen and full-frontal nudity and also tackled challenging female issues such as abortion and birth control (subsequently banned under the 1930 Hays Production Code).

Asserting her rightful place within the industry, Weber once claimed being a woman was what made her such a great filmmaker. I like to direct, because I believe a woman, more or less intuitively, brings out many of the emotions that are rarely expressed on the screen. I may miss what some of the men get, but I will get other effects that they never thought of.”

Germaine Dulac

The political activist, writer, and journalist became one of the most revered visionary artists of the French Impressionist movement in the 20s. With her own production company – Delia Film – Dulac began her filmmaking career with melodramas before advancing to the avant-garde. Her 1922 movie, La Souriante Madame Beudet, is considered a groundbreaking film for the representation of women and is frequently labeled the first “feminist” film of all time.

Mary Pickford

Pickard had a lot of game, having setup the movie studio United Artists with Charlie Chaplin and husband Douglas Fairbanks so she could exert more control over her career and enjoy a bigger cut of the profits.

Within the three years of her silent movie career, Pickard hustled to become a producer on her own films, providing the actor with an uncompromising command over collaborators, scripts, and how movies were edited. Despite once proclaiming, “Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo,” Pickford won her only Oscar in 1930 for the talkie flick, Coquette.

Alice Guy-Blaché

In 1896, at the staggeringly young age of 23, French filmmaker Guy-Blaché made the first narrative film in history and was the first ever female film director. Although Guy-Blaché does not feature heavily in cinematic history, she pioneered the concept of filming on location and was one of the first to utilize closeups in her work. Charmingly, Guy-Blaché made over one thousand movies after falling in love with the medium while working as the secretary of the Gaumont film studio founder, Léon Gaumont.

Tazuko Sakane

You may not have heard of Sakane, but you’ll definitely want to know more about her after reading this. As one of the first Japanese female film directors, Sakane worked her way through the stratified Japanese studio system of the 1930s where she reportedly faced repeated harassment for being one of the industry’s few women. Nevertheless, she persisted and made her first and only major movie Hatsu Sugata in 1936.

Sakane also made propaganda films in north-eastern China during Japan’s invasion of Manchuria. However, upon her return to Japan she was subsequently excluded from directing on the grounds she didn’t have a college degree. As such, Sakane was forced to reenter the industry from the bottom of the ladder as an assistant.

The UK is currently celebrating 100 years of women having the right to vote and the challenging fight required to reach that point. Here are eight of our absolute favorite female agitators depicted in TV & film.

Good Girls Revolt: The best female agitators in film and TV

By News

The UK is currently celebrating 100 years of women having the right to vote and the challenging fight required to reach that point. In fighting for their rights, the Suffragettes took radical action and were made up of countless female agitators who refused to back down and who believed in women’s rights so ardently, they were prepared to sacrifice their lives for it.

Be it fictional depictions, portrayal of real life women, or a blend of the two, there have been some powerful women fighting for change shown on screen. Here are eight of our absolute favorite female agitators depicted in TV & film.

Good Girls Revolt (2015)

Patti Robinson and Jane Hollander (Genevieve Angelson and Anna Camp)

The sadly short lived Amazon Originals series is based on the real life revolt female researchers performed in protest of the sexism they perceived in the Newsweek offices in the early 70s. Shrewdly fictionalized as News of the Week magazine, the show centers around the second wave feminist movement of the time and within it, characters Patti and Jane are smart, tough, and outspoken in fighting for the respect they deserve for their work and for equality in the workplace.

Queen Sugar (2016-)

Nova Bordelon (Rutina Wesley)

Not only is Nova a journalist and Black Lives Matter activist shrewdly finding a myriad of ways with which to strive for change, but the character of Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed drama also has firm roots within her community, highlighting the importance of change at a local level. She’s ferocious, passionate, intelligent, and a pillar of strength.

The Seashell and The Clergyman (1928)

La femme du général (Genica Athanasiou)

Germaine Dulac’s classic surrealist film remains one of the most radical feminist films ever made. The movie’s central female character is about as subversive as they come – particularly for the time the film was made and released – in resisting the power of a king and the desires of a priest. There’s even a sequence in which she holds a burning bra above her head in protest! In 1928! Unsurprisingly, the film was subsequently banned, with the British Board of Film Censors somehow conceding it’s simultaneously “meaningless” and “objectionable”.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts)

Steven Soderbergh’s powerful biopic is based on the true life exploits of environmental activist Erin Brockovich – an unemployed single mom who single-handedly takes on a Californian power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply. Erin refuses to back down, shut up, or step back when people with more power demand her to, and she continues to shake down a complex of corruption until she can finally see justice and accountability in sight.

Marianne & Juliane (1981)

Marianne and Juliane (Barbara Sukowa and Jutta Lampe)

Margarethe von Trotta’s German New Wave classic explores a bond between two sisters and their radically different approaches to the fight for women’s rights. While Juliane uses words and information as a journalist to spread her message, Marianne is a militant street fighter who refuses to back down or be polite. The film offers a critical female perspective on a violent time in West German history.

Born in Flames (1983)

Honey

Providing a futuristic glimpse at a feminist uprising, Lizzie Borden’s transgressive science fiction film has countless female agitators at its heart, but we have a particular soft spot for Honey – the soft spoken Radio Phoenix leader who joins forces with other women to implement a full on revolution for equal rights. The film pays a loving tribute to the contributions of women of color in political change that’s not often seen on screen.

Norma Rae (1979)

Norma Rae (Sally Field)

Based on Crystal Lee Sutton’s experiences of organizing a union with her coworkers at a textile mill in North Carolina, Field depicts a rebel-rousing, working-class woman standing up for workers’ rights despite the obvious dangers and challenges involved. As well as portraying a formidable woman fighting for rights, the film also deals with further issues of sexual freedom and institutionalized racism that sees Norma remaining resilient against various structures of oppression.

Suffragette (2015)

Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan)

A fictional rendering of many of the pioneering women involved in the British fight for the right to vote, Maud faces repeated challenges as she continues to battle for women’s rights, including being thrown out by her husband and fired from her job. The experiences Maud endures – including being brutally force fed while on hunger strike – reflects some of the real life experiences the Suffragettes went through in their fight.