From classic Hollywood heroines to devious villains, ACMI is set to pay tribute to the formidable women on screen in their 2023 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces blockbuster, Goddess. This exhibition, curated by ACMI, will feature large-scale projections, never-before-seen costumes, cinematic treasures and interactive experiences. It will look at and celebrate the changing representation of femininity across film history. Celebrate the power of the goddess on screen, when it makes its Melbourne premiere on April 5, 2023.
Goddess by ACMI
This exhibition will take a look at on-screen personas that have defined and disrupted the feminine ideal. Explore everything from the icons of the silent era to the stars of Bollywood blockbusters. Over 150 original objects, artworks, props and sketches will be on display. Many of them have never been seen before in Australia. On top of that, there will be plenty of lush costuming, immersive video works and evocative soundscapes by Melbourne-based composer Chiara Kickdrum.
See Mae West’s heels in Belle of the Nineties (1934), the costumes worn by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise (1991) and the detail of Michelle Yeoh’s fight-ready silks from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). It will also have sparkles from Marilyn Monroe and furs from Glenn Close’s Cruella De Vil.
“The women of Goddess are bold, rebellious and defiant,” said Dr Britt Romstad, ACMI Director of Experience & Engagement. “Their power is expressed in numerous ways – in what they wear, how they move and the stories they tell. ACMI’s exhibition honours their influence and daring, and explores how they have transformed the face and expectations of on-screen femininity for audiences, time and time again.”
Goddess will also go behind the lens and take a look at conversations and social rebellions inspired by these characters. It’ll look at the gender redefining statements of Marlene Dietrich in Morocco (1930), Tilda Swinton in Orlando (1992), Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey (2020) and more. It will track Pam Grier’s boundary-breaking Blaxploitation film career and the impact of Elaine Crombie in Kiki and Kitty (2017).
It’ll also explore the Me Too movement, and representations of womanhood in India, China and Japan’s cinematic histories.
An events program, including late-night exhibition access, performances, talks, film screenings, exhibition ambassadors and guests will be announced in February 2023 when tickets go on sale. The exhibition will run from April 5 to October 1, 2023. After that, it will go on an international tour.