Making Silence Move-ie

The students in my class, The Sounds of Silence: A Biodiversity of Mute and Quiet Women in a World of Brutal Noise,* made silence move into films. Grad student Angela Allen made three short films about Griselda, a tragically silenced figure who fascinated Boccaccio, Petrarch, Chaucer, and Christine de Pizan. Here are Angela’s films.

To Mama: Griselda’s Poem, Part 1: “A revision of the tale of Griselda–addressing her deceased mother, Griselda relates the events of the day. Unbeknownst to her, this is the last day before her marriage to Walter.”

Here I am again, Mama: Griselda Poem, Part 2: “In this second part of my retelling of Griselda’s tale, Griselda returns to her father’s house after being ejected from the palace by Walter.”

Tights: A Poem: “A spoken word poem.”

Angela’s work is stunning and sophisticated. I hope you enjoy and learn from it.

* This is the course description:

This course looks at silent women, quiet women, and mute women. Sometimes their hush is self-imposed, other times it is violently forced upon them. Passing, they erase their race and gender orientation. Yet, even with their tongues cut out, women speak. Sexually violated, they insist on their story. Enslaved, they shape their ends. Philomela—raped and mutilated—survives as a mythic emblem of female voicelessness. Some texts we look at are modern novels that tell the stories of women denied their chance at speech—in feminist versions of Homer’s Odyssey, Beowulf, and Jane Eyre. In a variety of texts –from Roman myth, Icelandic saga, and medieval religious sign language texts to a cross-dressed female knight, victimized wife, and deaf nun—we will attempt to hear these quiet voices from the past and rowdily proclaim their vibrancy for their future.


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