Kino Lorber on Dec. 20 will release Cinema’s First Nasty Women, a four-disc set showcasing more than 14 hours of rarely-seen silent films about feminist protest, slapstick rebellion, and suggestive gender play.
The collection will be available on DVD at a suggested retail price of $39.95, as well as Blu-ray Disc ($79.95).
The women in the films, shot between 1898 and 1926, organize labor strikes, bake (and weaponize) inedible desserts, explode out of chimneys, electrocute cops, and assume a range of identities that gleefully dismantle traditional gender norms and sexual constraints. The films span a variety of genres including slapstick comedy, genteel farce, the trick film, cowboy melodrama, and adventure thriller. Cinema’s First Nasty Women includes 99 European and American silent films, sourced from 13 international film archives and libraries, with all-new musical scores, video introductions, commentary tracks, and an illustrated booklet.
The collection was curated by Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak, and Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, and produced for video by Bret Wood. Cinema’s First Nasty Women is a partnership of Kino Lorber, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Women Film Pioneers Project, Eye Filmmuseum, FIC-Silente and Carleton University.
The set includes 11 short documentaries focused on specific films and performers, including interviews with Liza Black, TJ Cuthand, Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak, Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, Dana Reason, Arigon Starr, Susan Stryker and Kyla Wazana Tompkins.
Packaged with the discs is a 120-page booklet with essays, interviews, photos, and detailed film notes (print copies only available in the Blu-ray Deluxe First Edition; DVD and subsequent Blu-ray editions will feature a QR code for the full booklet contents online).
Audio commentaries for select films were recorded by Jennifer Bean (University of Washington), Liza Black, Enrique Moreno Ceballos (Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México), Liz Clarke (Brock University), Bryony Dixon (British Film Institute), Jane Gaines (Columbia University), Rosa María Licea Garibay (Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México), Joanna Hearne (University of Oklahoma), Maggie Hennefeld (University of Minnesota), Laura Horak (Carleton University), Pamela Hutchinson (Silent London), Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi (Eye Filmmuseum), Mariann Lewinsky (Cineteca di Bologna), Katharina Loew (University of Massachusetts Boston), Cecilia Ramírez Morales (Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México), Ana Belén Recoder (Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México), Lluvia Soto Rodríguez (Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México), Aurore Spiers, Shelley Stamp (University of California, Santa Cruz), Alejandra Calleja Toxqui (Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México), Kristen Anderson Wagner (University of Southern California), Laetitia Vigneron (Festival Internacional de Cine Silente México) and Yiman Wang (University of California, Santa Cruz).