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Merrily we go to hell: celebrating women in cinema

Art Gallery of New South Wales announces a free film series featuring the defiant work of female directors from the 1930s to today

Still from Daisies 1966, director Věra Chytilová, CZ, 1966, 35mm. Courtesy National Film Archive.

Merrily we go to hell, the latest free film series at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, invites audiences to cast their cares aside this winter and enjoy ten weeks of fun, defiant cinema by female directors.

The film series features the best of golden age Hollywood, film noir, 1970s New York comedy and contemporary cinema directed by women from around the globe.

Curated by Art Gallery of NSW curator of film, Ruby Arrowsmith-Todd, audiences can see films by iconic directors including Ida Lupino (The hitch-hiker), Sally Potter (Orlando), Elaine May (A new leaf) and Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar).

“To thrive in an industry still beset by inequalities, female directors have cultivated arts of resilience. This season explores how their talent, creativity and determination translate into whip-smart films,” Arrowsmith-Todd said.

“These are stories where narrative conflict is met with exuberant displays of dance, mayhem and rebellion,” Arrowsmith-Todd continued.

Dorothy Arzner, the only female director working in 1930s Hollywood, transforms the rom-com into a scandalous study of adultery in Merrily we go to hell featuring an early Cary Grant cameo.

Věra Chytilová’s 1960s Czech new wave classic Daisies merges the insurrectionary energy of the Prague Spring with carnivalesque surrealism.

Another season highlight, Claudia Weill’s rarely screened Girlfriends is a 1970s New York coming-of-age comedy acclaimed by Stanley Kubrick, Greta Gerwig and Wes Anderson.

This unmissable free season includes Sunday film introductions by leading critics, filmmakers and scholars including Anwen Crawford, Karen Pearlman, Kathryn Millard, Nicole Anderson, Debbie Zhou, Catharine Lumby, Jane Simon, Stefan Solomon and Intan Paramaditha.

Merrily we go to hell runs weekly in the Domain Theatre from 26 June to 1 September 2019. Early-bird tickets and information are available on the Gallery website.

Film series: Merrily we go to hell
Wednesdays 2pm & 7.15pm, Sundays 2pm
Various Saturdays 1.30pm
26 June – 1 September 2019
Free, bookings recommended
Domain Theatre

26/30 JuneMerrily we go to hell (dir. Dorothy Arzner, US, 1932, 35mm)
29 JuneJust another girl on the I. R. T. (dir. Leslie Harris, US, 1992, Digital)
3/7 JulyThe hitch-hiker (dir. Ida Lupino, US, 1953, 35mm)
10/14 JulyDaisies (dir. Věra Chytilová, CZ, 1966, 35mm)
17/21 JulyA new leaf (dir. Elaine May, US, 1971, 35mm)
24/28 JulyGirlfriends (dir. Claudia Weill, US, 1978, 35mm)
27 JulyThe love witch (dir. Anna Biller, US, 2016, 35mm)
31 July/4 AugRatcatcher (dir. Lynne Ramsay, UK, 1999, 35mm)
7/11 AugMorvern Callar (dir. Lynne Ramsay, UK, 2002, 35mm)
14/18 AugOrlando (dir. Sally Potter, UK, 1992, 35mm)
21/25 AugThe headless woman (dir. Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2008, Digital)
28 Aug/1 SeptMarlina the murderer in four acts (dir. Mouly Surya, Indonesia, 2017, Digital)

Media contact

Hannah McKissock-Davis
Tel 02 9225 1671
hannah.mckissock-davis@ag.nsw.gov.au