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Cinema's First Nasty Women

Women smoking and playing billiards.
August 12, 2022 -
August 21, 2022

Its title a riff on the feminist cri de cœur that arose during the 2016 presidential election, Cinema’s First Nasty Women presents a selection of rarely-screened European and American silent films that reveals and revels in the spirit of rule-breaking, anarchic women on screen going back to the earliest years of the medium. Featuring an array of genres—slapstick comedies, trick films, adventures and dramas—among 27 titles drawn from over a dozen international archives, the program brings to light a host of overlooked performers in an unprecedented upending and expansion of the silent film canon. This electrifying parade of actors and comedians—including Sarah Duhamel, Bertha Regustus, Edna “Billy” Foster, Lilian St. Cyr (Ho-Chunk), Tsuru Aoki, Fay Tincher and more—challenge social mores and gender identities from the bedroom to the barroom, the city streets to the wild frontier. Every film in the program has been newly restored and comes accompanied by newly commissioned scores across a range of styles. The Archive is thrilled to present this program curated by archivists and scholars Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak and Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi for Kino Lorber in advance of the release of Kino Lorber’s four-disc DVD/Blu-ray collection.

Series curated by Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak and Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi.

Special thanks to our community partners: Retroformat Silent Films, The Silent Treatment.

Past Programs & Events

Title Date and Time Location
Women playing billiards.

Phil For Short

Sunday, August 21, 2022 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
A woman pointing a gun at a man in an Old West setting.

Gender Adventures

Friday, August 19, 2022 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The image of three heads floating above a woman in bed.

Doubles and Doppelgangers

Saturday, August 13, 2022 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
A laughing woman.

Queens of Destruction

Friday, August 12, 2022 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater