Girlhood: A 2016-17 Film series

Date: 

Thursday, April 13, 2017, 6:00pm

Repeats every 3 weeks every Thursday until Thu Oct 27 2016 Also includes Thu Nov 17 2016, Wed Feb 15 2017, Thu Mar 02 2017, Thu Apr 13 2017

Location: 

Radcliffe College Room, Schlesinger Library, 3 James St., Cambridge

Presented by: Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study 
Admission: Free and open to the public.
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Famously, one is "not born a woman, but made." But what is she before?

This year-long film series will explore the power, precarity, and politics of "girlhood" through popular mythologies of "the girl" in narrative arts and visual culture. Each evening's feature presentation will feature a brief introductory program of opening remarks, film shorts, and/or selected readings.

Oct. 6, 6 PM: Black Girl (1966, Directed by Ousmane Sembene)
Oct. 27, 6PM: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour)
Nov. 17, 6 PM: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Feb. 15, 6 PM: The Fits (2015, Directed by Anna Rose Holmer) - RESCHEDULED FROM FEB. 9 DUE TO SNOWSTORM
March 2, 6 PM: Spring Breakers (2012, Directed by Harmony Korine)
April 13, 6 PM: Zero Motivation (2014, Directed by Talya Lavie)

Black Girl

Oct. 6, 6 PM: Black Girl (1966, Directed by Ousmane Sembene)

A Senegalese woman takes a job and moves to France in search of a more cosmopolitan life, only to find herself alone, exploited, and running out of options in this seminal work of African cinema. Ousmane Sembene's iconic compositions and narrative realism make for an at once critical and loving corrective to the post-colonial aesthetics and worldviews of French nouvelle vague/New Wave cinema.

Oct. 27, 6PM: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour)

Welcome to Ana Lily Amirpour's uncanny alternate universe, in which New Wave film, gothic horror, Queer cinema, and the Hollywood Western all congregate along the borders of a fictional Persian town. Equal parts contemporary Iran and "pure cinema," "Bad City" is a place of both dreams and nightmares, as embodied in the mysterious figure of a young woman who haunts its streets—alone, and always at night . . .

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Nov. 17, 6 PM: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) is six years old and a survivor. Her world is "The Bathtub," a surreal Southern Delta community of our wildest childhood fantasies and worst post-Katrina nightmares. Faced with the gradual decline of her father and sole guardian, Wink, Hushpuppy ventures into a world of mythical beasts, melting icecaps, and an adventure that is as much out of a child's storybook as it is a post-apocalyptic tale of survival against all too familiar landscapes.

The Fits

Feb. 9, 6 PM: The Fits (2015, Directed by Anna Rose Holmer)

Described by some as an inspiration for Beyonce's Lemonade, Anna Rose Holmer's quiet, pulsating debut cuts a tense psychological portrait of contemporary girlhood. Toni is trained to be a fighter—literally—but her longing to fit in with a seductively athletic all-girl drill team leaves her fighting on uncertain ground: a mysterious illness known as "the fits," based on actual case histories among adolescent girls, surreally dramatizes the tension between "fitness" and "formation" in these intensely formative years.


Spring BreakersMarch 2, 6 PM: Spring Breakers (2012, Directed by Harmony Korine)

Career-long provocateur, Harmony Korine (KidsGummo) stays true to form by breaking all the rules in this delirious study of the Day-Glo dreams and dark realities of the "Girls Gone Wild" generation. A violent, visceral take on the Bildungsroman, four sensation-starved friends scheme, steal, and smash their way into a Spring Break vacation that plays out as a trip down a technicolor rabbit hole into the darkest recesses of white "millennial" youth culture. Creative casting from "tween" media (Disney's Vanessa Hudgens and Selina Gomez, Pretty Little Liars' Ashley Benson, the internet's James Franco) and ecstatic, club-house mixes of Skrillex and Britney Spears makes for a hyper-aware "break" from reality that—love or hate—few forget.

Zero Motivation

April 13, 6 PM: Zero Motivation (2014, Directed by Talya Lavie)

If Lena Dunham had served mandatory time in Israeli military service, she might have been produced something like this as a result. A darkly satiric, roman a clef, Talya Lavie's debut feature loosely recounts her own service in the IDF. Two young women assigned to a remote desert base, Daffi and Zohar, fight to survive their own boredom, isolation, and the hostility of their superiors in ways both hilarious and horrifying, subverting expectations of women's service in ways that have been compared to M*A*S*HThe Breakfast Club, and Orange is the New Black.

Film series curated by Katie B. Kohn, a doctoral candidate in the PhD program in film and visual studies through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.