Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Iron-Jawed Angels 

Last evening the American Constitution Society presented our second movie night, with Hijacking Catastrophe, a 68-minute documentary along the lines of Fahrenheit 9/11 (which we showed at our first movie night last week). Last week we managed to get 15 people willing to stay at school from 7-10 pm on a playoff night, and this week we had 8 brave souls who made the 7-8:30 commitment on the night of World Series Game 3!

Since I was already there, I decided to stay for the Women's Law Caucus' showing of the HBO Original, Iron-Jawed Angels. I saw this when it first aired in February, and loved it. Even better the second time around.

Hilary Swank stars as Alice Paul, the feminist who went to Washington, D.C. in 1912 to work for the enfranchisement of women. She and her colleagues eventually broke ranks with the more conservative suffrage establishment and took more direct action. The movie follows the movement from 1912 until passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, including the ridicule, violence, arrests and force-feeding they endured along the way.

What sets this project apart from other historical dramas is that it portrays the characters as the very real people they were - young, very educated and passionate women fighting tooth and nail for their very existence as citizens. They smoke, they sweat, they long for romance but fear losing the independence for which they struggle. The soundtrack and cinematography is modern and edgy, and it brings you to see these courageous women as contemporaries, not as the activists who were doing the work featured here back before anyone ever heard of the Curse of the Bambino.

As when I watched it the first time, when it was over I found myself wanting to get out there and do something - exercise that vote they worked so hard to ensure for me. How convenient. Now let's get out there and find George Bush's boots... (I'm not letting you off the hook and explaining this. You'll have to watch the movie to get it).

Amazon link:

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:47 AM