Bibbi Andersson and Harriet Andersson, faces superimposed on top of each other in a still from 'The Girls' (1968)
Bibbi Andersson and Harriet Andersson, faces superimposed on top of each other in a still from 'The Girls' (1968)
The Girls (1968)

ACMI presents

The Girls


Mai Zetterling | Sweden | 1968 | Unclassified (15+)

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Three icons of Swedish Modernist Cinema – Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson and Gunnel Lindblom – star as touring actors combating the dominant forces in their lives.

Ironic and comic, this film moves us by the beauty of its landscapes, its poetry and above all its subtle tenderness.

Simone de Beauvoir

Taking leave of their families, three actors embark on a national tour of Aristophanes' Lysistrata. The play – a Greek comedy about women taking matters into their own hands to end a war – is received as a nice night out at the theatre. However, when the actors realise that the play might not be a comedy after all, the battle between genders spills offstage, and they are each forced to combat oppressive forces in their own personal lives.

Mai Zetterling rounded out the sixties with what was her most audaciously feminist work to date. Upon its release, the film received less-than-favourable reviews from mostly male film critics. A critic for the New York Times once qualified his review as being two-parts sexism and one-part film criticism.

As the Women's Liberation Movement gathered momentum in the early 1970s, the film gained renewed favour as it was selected and opened women's film festivals. Today The Girls is one of Mai Zetterling's most celebrated works.

– Reece Goodwin, Curator (TV & Special Events)

Format: DCP
Language: Swedish with English subtitles
Source: Swedish Film Institute
Courtesy: Janus Films
Duration: 100 mins


100 mins


Unclassified (15+)

Viewers under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.


Cinemas 1 & 2, Level 2
Fed Square, Melbourne

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