Film Series: Telling Her Story

Norton Simon Museum screens three films by women directors that portray strong female protagonists who upend society’s expectations of them. These films differ in style, era and genre but are each the debut feature for their director.

Free with Museum admission.
No reservations taken. The theater opens at 5:00 p.m. and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), NR

Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Friday, March 6, 5:30–7:20 p.m.

The first Iranian vampire western, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films and the Iranian New Wave. Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town is a place that reeks of death and hopelessness, where a lonely vampire is stalking the town’s most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom . . . blood red.

In Persian, with English subtitles.


More Info

Daughters of the Dust (1991), PG

Directed by Julie Dash
Friday, March 20, 5:30–7:20 p.m.

The first wide release by a black female filmmaker, Daughters of the Dust was met with critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it opened in 1991. At the dawn of the 20th century, a family in the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina—former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions—suffers a generational split. Young Haagar (Kaycee Moore) wants to move to the mainland, away from tradition-bound matriarch Nana (Cora Lee Day). Former prostitute Yellow Mary (Barbara-O) gets a cold shoulder when she returns to the island with her female lover, especially from her sister Viola (Cheryl Lynn Bruce).

More Info

My Brilliant Career (1979), G

Directed by Gillian Armstrong
Friday, March 27, 5:30–7:10 p.m.

For her award-winning breakthrough film, director Gillian Armstrong drew on teenage author Miles Franklin’s novel, a celebrated turn-of-the-20th-century Australian coming-of-age story, to brashly upend the conventions of period romance. Headstrong young Sybylla Melvyn (Judy Davis, in a star-making performance), bemoans her stifling life in the backcountry, where her writerly ambitions receive little encouragement, and she craves independence above all else. When a handsome landowner (Sam Neill), disarmed by her unruly charms, begins to court her, Sybylla must decide whether she can reconcile the prospect of marriage with the illustrious life’s work she has imagined for herself. Suffused with generous humor and a youthful appetite for experience, My Brilliant Career is a luminous portrait of an ardently free spirit.

More Info