Terra Femme

By Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts (other events)

Friday, March 24 2023 7:00 PM 9:00 PM EDT

Terra Femme is an essay film comprised of amateur travelogues filmed by women in the
1920s-1950s. With a score by Sarah Davachi, the film moves between geographical
essay, personal inquiry, and historical speculation, examining these films as both private
documents and accidental ethnographies. The films present a new type of traveler: no
longer a male seeker of conquests, she might be a divorcee on a tour of biblical
gardens, or a widow on a cruise to the North Pole. Representing the world through
women’s eyes, the films raise questions about female representation in the archive and
the role of amateur movie-making plays in understanding the participation of women in
early non-fiction filmmaking.

One thing these films encode is a profound absence: the general absence of women in
the film archive and the larger absence of female figures in the historical record. They
also explore the attempt to concretize ones own experience through the act of making
cinema, while also acknowledging the other forms of power that gave these women
access to film cameras in the first place. At once a film about longing for past worlds
through cinematic excavation, this force flows in both directions: as women from the
past convey themselves into the present through the power of their gaze. (Courtney Stephens, USA, 2021, 62 min.)

Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts