Woman gets voice, woman loses voice

// 16 August 2008

In a silent movie, obviously, no-one can talk. So what happens if one woman finds her voice? That’s the premise of Silent, a film which has the potential to examine some interesting ideas about attitudes to women who speak out, on the basis of the trailer and synoposis:

Reminiscent of “Pleasantville”, in this Gothic comedy heroine Abigaile Archibald suddenly develops a speaking voice in a world that is otherwise silent. Delighted, she secretly indulges in the joys of talking and singing — until the townspeople launch a witch hunt to find the source of the mysterious sound.

(H/T – Mike)

Meanwhile, Bidisha has an interesting post on Comment is Free, about the film Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. The novel, written by a woman, falls into a sound tradition of middle-aged women in literature:

These women are not always glamorous, nor beautiful, nor entertainingly witty. They are not always morally good. But they have something which is usually a given for males in film and books: they have charisma, power and independence. They are no one’s helpmeet, and this gives them the space to influence their own storylines, for good or ill. They are middle-aged women with minds of their own.

But Bidisha has some interesting reflections on the transition of Miss Pettigrew from book to screen:

Miss Pettigrew was written by a women, about women and published beautifully by Persephone Books who are dedicated to the history of women’s writing. The novel has been eaten up by the Hollywood machine and spat out with a male club pulling all the strings: the director is Bharat Nalluri and the writers are David Magee and Simon Beaufoy. Ultimately, the only female magnificence in this project is the delightful illusion in front of the cameras, far away from the real power.

Comments From You

Soirore // Posted 18 August 2008 at 1:41 pm

re Silent

It doesn’t make sense. Unlike Pleasantville where colour didn’t exist people have ears and mouths and move them into the shapes of words so sound is there but is just unused. They’ll have to come up with a very convincing argument about why this is the case.

This looks like the kind of film that is demonising the past recklessly. In the silent period women made up a large proportion of the film industry and had considerable power and influence. Silent films were a way in which female writers found their voices and directors their visions. This film unsilencing one woman could be seen as doing the reverse for women in film as a whole.

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds