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Playing the Bitch

June 2019

Join us for a filmic exploration of tough, difficult female characters and the actors who traditionally play them.

Introduction by season programmer Anna Bogutskaya

Playing the Bitch


“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch”
Bette Davis

There’s much praise and writing about bad boys, anti-heroes and complicated characters – nearly always referring to men. In this season we attempt something different – to showcase and trace the rich lineage of self-determining, defiant, often unlikeable but always charismatic anti-heroines in film and TV, and the actors who play them. In other words; the screen’s greatest bitches. Through this by-no-means exhaustive selection of titles we want to start a conversation about the power of this character type, the different shades of ‘bitch’ that challenge and delight audiences, and who has been traditionally allowed to play a bitch on screen. Through discussion and events we’ll address the inherent problem in the on-screen representation of women beyond the simple ‘strong female character’, and look to explore more powerful – but not necessarily positive – representations.

Anna Bogutskaya


See our Woman with a Movie Camera summit, and The Guilty Feminist Live!

Media partner

Japan Centre


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