The Museum of Modern Art Presents After Alice, Beyond Lois: Mining the Archive with The Women Film Pioneers Project
The Museum of Modern Art will present the film series After Alice, Beyond Lois: Mining the Archive with the Women Film Pioneers Project. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Columbia University Libraries’ Women Film Pioneers Project, a digital publication and film archival resource, MoMA presents a selection of films written, produced, directed, edited, photographed, colored, and titled by silent-era women filmmakers. Launched as an online-only platform in October 2013—with two celebratory film programs at MoMA dedicated to U.S. serial queens—WFPP was developed twenty years prior by feminist film scholar Jane M. Gaines, who first envisioned the project as a multi-volume book series. Since then, and thanks to the tireless work of its contributors, editors, library colleagues, and many graduate student research assistants (as well as international archivists and curators), WFPP has published articles on the careers of over 300 women—and counting!—who worked behind-the-scenes during cinema’s first few decades.
This series, which encompasses shorts, features, and fragments from many different international film archives, mirrors WFPP’s global scope and interest in the diversity of women’s creative output during the silent film era. Through cross-national thematic connections and juxtapositions, the series brings together animation, experimental cinema, documentary, and commercial fiction film from Japan, China, Tunisia, Argentina, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Georgia, England, Scotland, and the United States. Because the films of Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Dorothy Arzner, Germaine Dulac, and Asta Nielsen, among others, have become more widely available to the public in recent years, this 15-program series aims to expand visibility around other women artists—some familiar names, most lesser-known—as well as to spotlight new archival discoveries and recent restorations, less familiar titles, and rarely screened films. Drawing primarily from the published essays on WFPP, this series puts just a small sampling of the richness of women’s contributions to early cinema on view. Highlights include Brides of the Frontier (1943), the only surviving film directed by Japanese filmmaker Tazuko Sakane; Las Naciones de América (1927), presumed lost until 2021, made by Argentinian documentary filmmaker Renée Oro; and Adam a Eva (1922), a cross-dressing comedy scripted by Czech actress Suzanne Marwille.