Dorothy Arzner
Pioneer, Queer, Feminist

France 2023, 53 mins
Directors: Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperberg

Dive into the work of Dorothy Arzner with the UK premiere of this documentary, which traces the filmmaker’s groundbreaking Hollywood career.

Following the screening, film historian Pamela Hutchinson, academic Lies Lanckman and artist filmmaker Michelle Williams Gamaker will join the illustrated discussion hosted by season curator Caroline Cassin. The panel will discuss Arzner’s life and legacy, the dynamics of her professional collaborations and romantic relationships with other women in Hollywood, and her pivotal role as a star-maker.

Pamela Hutchinson is a freelance critic, curator and film historian. She is the author of books including BFI Film Classics on The Red Shoes and Pandora’s Box. Her curation projects include seasons on Marlene Dietrich and Asta Nielsen for BFI Southbank, and a nationwide touring programme on Pre-Code Hollywood, with Christina Newland. She is a columnist for Sight and Sound and edits the Weekly Film Bulletin. Her website SilentLondon.co.uk is devoted to silent cinema.

Lies Lanckman is Senior Lecturer in Film at UWE Bristol. She is the co-founder of NoRMMA, the Network of Research: Movies, Magazines, Audiences, and the editor of Star Attractions: Twentieth-Century Movie Magazines and Global Fandom (2019) and Stars, Fan Magazines and Audiences: Desire by Design (2023). The main focus of her research is Hollywood history of the 1920s-1940s; particular research interests include stardom and fandom, fan magazines, issues of censorship, and the career of Norma Shearer.

Michelle Williams Gamaker is an artist filmmaker, based in London. She is joint winner of Film London’s Jarman Award (2020) and winner of Aesthetica’s Short Film Festival’s Best Experimental Film, 2021 and 2023. Her major institutional solo, ‘Our Mountains Are Painted on Glass’ premiered Thieves (2023) a co-commission between Film London, South London Gallery and Dundee Contemporary Arts, where it is currently on exhibition. The show will tour to Bluecoat, Liverpool in May. Williams Gamaker is Reader in BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and is currently a British Academy Wolfson Fellow.

Host: Caroline Cassin is a freelance film and events programmer, and recently graduated with an MA in Film Studies, Programming and Curation from the National Film and Television School. She hosts a popular monthly pre-Code cinema series called Women & Cocaine at the Cinema Museum in London, which recently had its second international film festival in Helsinki, Finland. She organised the first ever women’s football film festival in the UK, called Kick Like a Girl at the Genesis Cinema, and also hosted the 25th anniversary of the seminal book, Tipping the Velvet, which featured a screening and interview with author Sarah Waters. Caroline enjoys utilising archive material in her work to curate cross-media events that bring classic and queer cinema to life through a contemporary lens. Her work largely focuses on championing women’s history, and she is interested in the power of film to inspire positive social change.

Directors: Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperberg
Production Company: Kali Pictures
Producers: Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperberg
Executive Producer: Martine Melloul
Writers: Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperberg
Cinematographer: Yoram Astrakhan
Editors: Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperberg
France 2023
53 mins

Total running time 110 mins

Merrily We Go to Hell
Wed 7 Feb 20:40; Tue 20 Feb 18:40
Anybody’s Woman
Fri 9 Feb 18:20; Mon 12 Feb 20:30
Sarah and Son
Fri 9 Feb 20:30
Blood and Sand
Sat 10 Feb 12:30
Working Girls
Sat 10 Feb 15:00; Sat 17 Feb 20:50
Christopher Strong
Sat 10 Feb 18:30; Mon 19 Feb 18:50 (+ intro by season curator Caroline Cassin)
Honor Among Lovers
Sun 11 Feb 18:20; Mon 19 Feb 21:10
Mon 12 Feb 18:15; Thu 22 Feb 18:20
Woman with a Movie Camera: The Wild Party
Tue 13 Feb 18:30 (+ intro by season curator Caroline Cassin)
Paramount on Parade
Wed 14 Feb 18:10
Craig’s Wife
Fri 16 Feb 20:30; Sun 25 Feb 15:40
The Bride Wore Red
Fri 23 Feb 18:20; Mon 26 Feb 20:45
First Comes Courage
Sun 25 Feb 12:30; Thu 29 Feb 18:20
Dance, Girl, Dance
Sun 25 Feb 18:20; Tue 27 Feb 18:20 (+ intro by academic Lucy Bolton)
Philosophical Screens: Dance, Girl, Dance
Tue 27 Feb 20:10 Blue Room

With thanks to

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email