Movie: Brazen Hussies

Yes! A movie! The first since March 2020!

Actually, the movie theatres have been open for a couple of weeks, but I felt apprehensive about sitting in a theatre in the dark with other people who were all BREATHING. I made up my mind on Saturday that I would go to see this on Monday, only to learn on Sunday that it was no longer compulsory to wear a mask in a theatre. What to do?

Well, I went to Palace Westgarth and I was one of about ten people in a theatre that would probably seat 100. Certainly a movie like Brazen Hussies, about the Australian women’s movement in the 1960s and 1970s, attracts an audience of 60+ year old women and so there we all were, without being told to do so, sitting there with our masks on. I obviously wasn’t the only one who thought “too soon” when the order to wear a mask inside was lifted.

Having just read Michelle Arrow’s The Seventies, this felt like the documentary version of her book. It covers very much the same territory, making the same arguments. It was rather bracing seeing fresh faced, earnest young women in the 1960s being interviewed as craggier, wiser, – and let’s face it – old women in this recently filmed documentary. I have not previously thought of Marcia Langdon as “mellowed” but she was certainly a firebrand in the 1960s. Elizabeth Reid was measured and graceful both then and now. Many of the names and even the faces were familiar to me from their later lives (Sara Dowse, Biff Ward, Pat O’Shane, Eva Cox) but I didn’t have a mental ‘face’ to place on their names back in the 1960s. And..oh…the patronizing, arrogant smugness of young men interviewed at the time, and the the media commentary. It was reassuring to see footage of a recent protest and to realize that, in spite of the ever-present threat of roll-backs, the fight still continues.

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