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  • Art, Film and video
picture from goddess exhibition
Eugene Hyland

Time Out says

Celebrate game-changing women on screen with never-before-seen costumes, interactive experiences and cinematic treasures

May 2023: ACMI is now offering young people under the age of 16 the chance to experience Goddess for free. These free youth tickets are available now via the ACMI website.

What better time than now for an exhibition that lauds the women in film – the rebels, agitators, instigators and trailblazers – who, despite the odds, shaped their roles, sought control and fought a system that tried to exploit them?

Running until October 1, 2023, this ACMI exhibition celebrates daring and disruptive women on and off the screen. This landmark exhibition will unveil, examine and celebrate the shifting representation of femininity across film history through provocative cinematic moments.

Traversing 120 years of moving image history, Goddess will feature never-before-seen costumes, original sketches, interactive experiences and cinematic treasures from the icons of the silent era to classic Hollywood heroines and the stars of Bollywood blockbusters. 

Goddess goes behind the scenes to examine the off-screen conversations – and even rebellions – portrayals often ignited, from the sartorial statements of Marlene Dietrich in Morocco (1930), Tilda Swinton in Orlando (1992) and Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey (2020) to today's unfolding #MeToo movement and the developing representations of womanhood in Japan, China and India's film history. 

Expect costumes, immersive video works and evocative soundscapes by Melbourne-based composer Chiara Kickdrum with more than 150 original objects, artworks, props and sketches that invite visitors to consider how screen culture has shaped and challenged audiences' views of gender and womanhood. 

From Mae West's sky-high heels in the Belle of the Nineties (1934), costumes worn by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in the classic Thelma & Louise (1991), to Michelle Yeoh's silks from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Goddess will offer a fresh perspective on cinema's most memorable female characters.

The two-time Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis opened the exhibition and presented a day-long conference on gender equality and representation in the media. Being Seen on Screen: The Importance of Representation featured a cross-section of Australian screen industry talent including Australian of the Year Taryn Bruffitt and writer and speaker Carly Findlay OAM. You can rent discussions from the conference, including Geena Davis’s keynote address, on ACMI’s Cinema on Demand platform.

You can read more about the conference and get tickets to see the Goddess exhibition on the ACMI website.


Want to see why Melbourne holds the crown as the cultural capital of Australia? Check out the other best art exhibitions in Melbourne this month

Saffron Swire
Written by
Saffron Swire


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