Film Screening: “Scandal! Two Films by Lois Weber,” March 9, 2018, University of Chicago
Scandal! Two Films by Lois Weber
Friday, March 9, 2018 – 7:00pm
Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St., Chicago)
Lois Weber (1879-1939) was the most celebrated woman director, screenwriter, and producer in Hollywood during the silent era. Known for progressive social dramas like Where Are My Children? (Weber and Phillips Smalley, 1916), Shoes (Weber and Phillips Smalley, 1916), and The Blot (Weber, 1921), Weber believed that films were “living newspapers” that could reflect on contemporary debates about the living conditions of the working class, contraception, and women’s place in the institution of marriage, among others. More consistently than the films of her peers D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, Weber’s work demonstrates the power of cinema to bring social change through engaging and provocative stories, powerful mise-en-scène, and complex female characters. “I think the young women of this country today want to be individuals and have freedom of thought and action,” Weber once said. “They have brains and character. That is the kind of girl I am going to show in my story.”
Scandal Mongers (1915/1918) looks at the damaging effects of gossip as a stenographer and her boss are embroiled in a salacious media frenzy, and Sensation Seekers (1927) follows a scandal-prone socialite as she alternates between dancing the night away in sleazy speakeasies and seeking redemption in the church.
(Lois Weber, 1915/18 & 1927, 110 min., DCP, courtesy of the Library of Congress). With live accompaniment by David Drazin.
Curated by Aurore Spiers (CMS) as part of the Film Studies Center’s Graduate Student Curatorial Program.
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