Directed by Mai Zetterling • 1968 • Sweden
Starring Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom
Mai Zetterling’s cinema reached new heights of exuberant experimentation and fierce political engagement with this pointed and playful touchstone of 1960s feminist cinema. As they tour Sweden in a theatrical production of “Lysistrata,” performing to often uncomprehending audiences, three women (national cinema icons Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, and Gunnel Lindblom) find their own lives and marriages mirrored in the complex, combative gender relations at the heart of Aristophanes’s play. Onstage drama, offstage reality, and a torrent of surrealist fantasies and daydreams collide in THE GIRLS, a slashing, sardonic reflection on the myriad challenges confronting women on their path to liberation, and on the struggles of the female artist fighting to make her voice heard over the patriarchal din.