What The Femme!: I Will Survive

How does female victimization onscreen impact representations of strong, independent women characters? Join pop culture analyst Dr. Allison Palumbo to discuss the woman-as-survivor identity and her role in film since the 1980s.

April 25, 2020


Seeing a male hero beaten and bloodied and driven to revenge is nothing new in popular culture-in fact, it's often expected that the hero will overcome great physical odds to achieve victory.  What happens when that hero is a female who must overcome rape, domestic violence, or otherwise gendered hostility? Let's find out! Our conversation will explore the relationship between the victim and the agent, themes of female empowerment, what differentiates female victimization from torture porn, and what Jack Halberstam calls "imagined violence" and its liberating function for women onscreen and off.

SIFF year-round passes and vouchers are not valid for this event.

We will discuss a number of relevant films, including: Ms. 45, Sleeping with the EnemyMurder by Numbers, Taking Lives, La Femme Nikita and it's American remake Point of No Return, Red Sparrow, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (American version). From rape revenge heroines and domestic assault avengers to spies and detectives overcoming sexism, paternalism, and abuse, we will look at a number of ways that these kick-ass women portray fantasies of survival and triumph.

Class Specifics:
Saturday, April 25, 2020
1:00 PM - 4:00PM
SIFF Film Center
$20 | $15 SIFF Members

About the Instructor:
Dr. Allison Palumbo is a professor of English and Gender Studies at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, WA. Once they found out that becoming a superhero was not a career option, they developed their passion for movies, TV, and literature into teaching and writing and started a path to save the world one student at a time. Dr. Palumbo's first book, Love and the Fighting Female: A Critical Study of Onscreen Depictionswill be published by McFarland in 2020.

About What The Femme!:
What The Femme! is a SIFF Education series exploring female-representing character archetypes in cinema through analyzing the roles of women in horror, science fiction, and fantasy films. Each session will explore one character or archetype through two to three primary films, though more will be referenced. This education extension of SIFF's WTF Festival programming is curated by Colleen O'Holleran.