Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Iron Jawed Angels

In the spirit of election season, I thought I would post about a movie that I really really enjoy. Iron Jawed Angels is a film about Women's suffrage. I watched this film last election season when I was a junior in high school. I remember thinking that the film was very well shot and that the cinematography was very unique. As a woman, this film was very inspirational and informative. Many people are aware of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but not many people know about Alice Paul who was one of the most influential figures in the Women's Suffrage Movement. The title comes from a Massachusetts Representative who in 1917 opposed the creation of a committee to deal with women's suffrage. He thought the creation of a committee would be yielding to "the nagging of iron-jawed angels"(wikipedia).

The film is about two young women named Alice Paul (played by Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns who broke away from the National American Women's Suffrage Association (NAWSA) to find their own party, the National Women's Party. The women participate in many protests and get arrested for their actions which are seen by other suffragettes as too forceful and brash. Alice Paul and several other women are sent to a workhouse for a 60-day term for the result of their protesting. There Alice and several other women go on a hunger strike. At one point in the movie Alice is force fed eggs and milk to keep her alive. This is one of the hardest scenes to watch. It looks so painful when they stick a metal device in her mouth to make sure her mouth and throat stay open long enough to get food inside her.

The film was nominated in five categories at the 2004 Emmys including outstanding cinematography which I think it should have won for. I found the movie on Youtube and attached a clip of the first scene which I think is a wonderful sample of its unique cinematography. I really like the shot of the girl on the swing and then the cut to the P.O.V. shot looking up at the tree. It is very interesting and captivating.

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