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Celluloid Sunday: Mädchen in Uniform on 16mm
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Two women sit on the side of a bed, one looking sad, the other looking on with concern
Mädchen in Uniform, dir. Leontine Sagan, Germany 1931, 88 min., German with English subtitles

Written and co-directed by women, and featuring an all-female cast, Leontine Sagan’s Mädchen in Uniform (‘Girls in Uniform’) was subject to suppression and destruction by the Nazis, yet its unique pleasures have seen it survive and be heralded as a classic.

An unusually honest depiction of women’s love for women from 1931, it’s a tale of tender feeling that gives earnest attention to the joys and pains of young adulthood. We join Manuela (Hertha Thiele) as she enrolls at a girls’ boarding school. Her dormitory is overseen by Fräulein von Bernburg (Dorothea Wieck), a teacher by turns disciplinarian and empathetic. When Manuela falls in love with her, she is surprised to realise that her feelings are reciprocated.

In many ways a pioneering film, Mädchen in Uniform nevertheless demonstrates how the cinema of the period often boasted complex and tremendously modern female lead roles, with a sophisticated understanding and depiction of sexuality, gender and desire.

The film is screening on a 16mm print from the ICA Archive.
07:00 pm
Sun, 02 Apr 2023
Cinema 1

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated, and start with a 10 min. curated selection of trailers.

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