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The Girls

The Girls


Three actresses prepare to go no the road in a theater production of Lysistrata, Aristophanes' classic comedy play about women and war. As they re-assess and deal with problems in their respective private lives, they recognize the parallels with the play

Mai Zetterling, revered as much for her acting as for her directing, directed The Girls, the film that defined her feminist sensibilities during Sweden's women's lib era. Tying contemporary gender issues to the ancient, The Girls tells the story of three actors, Liz Lindstrand (Bibi Andersson), Marianne (Harriet Andersson), and Gunnila (Gunnel Lindblom of The Hunger), who, to their husbands and lovers' dismay, take Aristophanes' play Lysistrata on the road, questioning, during the tour, how different their current lives really are. As all three women become increasingly rebellious against their familial and wifely duties, their relationships crumble until they start asking themselves if their rejection of domesticity is beside the point. Contextualized by Lysistrata, a play about female revolution set during a time when women had zero political rights, Liz, Marianne, and Gunnila begin to see the complexities of the women's movement, by understanding that they lack happiness not necessarily because they lack rights. By so clearly and stylishly elucidating this concept, Zetterling proves to be ahead of her time, making the film feel more relevant than ever. Filmed in high-contrast black and white like a great Bergman movie, The Girls looks intentionally sexy, further reiterating female power. --Trinie Dalton

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