Women Make Film
Directed by Lois Weber • 1916 • United States
Starring Mary MacLaren, Harry Griffith, Mattie Witting
Decades before the artistic triumph of neorealism and the cultural revolution of the feminist movement, director Lois Weber expressed the seeds of both in what is perhaps her greatest work: an almost documentary-like look at the everyday struggles of an ordinary young woman. Eva Meyer (sixteen-year-old Mary MacLaren, in a revelatory performance) is a poor shop girl working at a five-and-dime. Each week, Eva returns to her cold-water flat and dutifully hands over her meager earnings to her mother. But her wages barely cover the grocer’s bill and cannot provide for decent clothing. With only cardboard to patch the holes in the soles of her shoes, Eva’s life becomes harder with each rainy day and every splinter. In constant pain and with no solution in sight, the disheartened girl resorts to desperate measures.
Up Next in Women Make Film
Directed by Lois Weber • 1921 • United States
Starring Claire Windsor, Louis Calhern, Philip Hubbard
The last film made under the banner of Lois Weber Productions, this moral drama, also written by Weber, is a biting commentary on economic inequality. Through her portrait of the Griggs family—an...
The Peasant Women of Ryazan
Directed by Olga Preobrazhenskaya and Ivan Pravov • 1927 • Soviet Union
Starring Kuzma Yastrebitsky, Olga Narbekova, Yelena Maksimova
Returning to a pre–Russian Revolution mode of narrative storytelling, this melodrama focuses on two peasant women—one the victim to an abusive father-in-law and t...
Merrily We Go to Hell
Directed by Dorothy Arzner • 1932 • United States
Starring Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, Adrianne Allen
One of director Dorothy Arzner’s most fascinatingly subversive portraits of marital dysfunction stars Sylvia Sidney as a wealthy socialite who falls in love with an alcoholic writer (Fredric M...