Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film, BFI 2015.

Sunday November 1st at 1.30 p.m.


This is a compilation of early films about the early C20th British Suffragette Movement. The selected titles are relatively short and are predominately newsreel footage or equivalent. There is the famous action by Emily Davison at the 1913 Derby. There is also coverage of her funeral. This latter film was used behind the closing credits of the feature Suffragettes: though unfortunately in the increasing contemporary habit of re-sizing it into a widescreen frame. Film of an action in Trafalgar Square features Sylvia Pankhurst, inexplicably missing from Suffragette.

The selection carries on into World War I when the Pankhurst’s and the movement split over whether to support the imperialist war or not. Sylvia Pankhurst was among those socialists who opposed the conflict.

There are also some short fictional films, mainly in the comic mode. There are shorts that send up the movement and ridicule it. But there are also several films by Cecil Hepworth which take a less hostile view. Two of these feature a popular female character of the period, Tilly, a tomboy who was constantly getting involved in and surviving scrapes.

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