Thursday, May 26, 2022, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
ON SITE: $25 for members, $35 for non-members
REMOTE CLASSROOM: $15 for members, $20 for non-members
Instructor: Jennifer Fleeger, Ph.D., Media and Communication Studies, Ursinus College
When Thelma & Louise was released in 1991, it enraged some reviewers, several of whom lambasted its violence. One pronounced it, “degrading to men,” while another lamented, “all males in this movie exist only to betray, ignore, sideswipe, penetrate, or arrest our heroines.” In other words, exactly the things that spoke to an entire generation of women viewers. An anthem of female independence, a glorious monument to patriarchy torn asunder, the film also demanded a seismic shift in women’s representation both in front of and behind the camera. More than characters on a road trip, Thelma and Louise were a call to action. Has Hollywood responded? How did it come to pass that Ridley Scott, known for sci-fi films, directed the feminist epic of the 1990s?
This seminar addresses Thelma & Louise as a cultural phenomenon, an entry in the road-picture genre, and an example of feminist expression. We will discuss the history of the film’s production, paying particular attention to the role of women in the cast and crew. When Callie Khouri won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for this film she declared, “for everyone who wanted to see a happy ending . . . this is it.” We will talk about how things have changed for women in Hollywood in the decades since Khouri spoke those words and how efforts by organizations like the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media have influenced the creation of new images of and agency for women and girls. We will trace the history of the road picture, noting how this film harnesses the scenic views and spontaneous action of the genre while making important changes that alter how we see the landscape. Finally, we will address what it means to craft a feminist story and how telling one might require particular approaches to image and sound. In all of this, like Thelma and Louise, we are sure to have a wild ride.
Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Additional showtimes can be found here.
Please email BMFI Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.