For this hybrid screening and discussion, artist and AFS-supported filmmaker Kelly Daniela Norris presents a historical overview of a little-known chapter in film history, the era of Silent Movie Action Heroines.
During the silent era, audiences would go to theaters weekly to watch the latest installment of their favorite movie serials. These were short one or two reelers and were presented as part of a multi-hour entertainment block. Some of the most popular serial stars were women who came from rodeo or circus backgrounds and performed the majority of their own stunts with very rudimentary stunt technology. It’s the beginning of the action heroine as possessing a fantastical, death-defying body, and when considered alongside the momentum of First Wave Feminism and the Suffragette Movement of the era, it can be theorized that these film serials were, intentionally or not, promoting and reinforcing a new vision of a woman as strong-bodied, independent thinking, and highly capable of overcoming the obstacles of her environment.
This presentation of clips is accompanied by live commentary from Norris.