Category Archives: Education

Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

Country of Origin:
Running Time: 127 min

SYNOPSIS: Fall of the Romanov Dynasty is a documentary film by woman Soviet filmmaker Esfir Shub. As a member of the revolutionary avant-garde, Shub constructed this narrative documentary entirely through editing found stock footage, creating what scholars believe is the first Soviet montage. Shub compiled this film in order to give the first historical account of the events that led to the October Revolution. Juxtaposed with classical music and interlaced text on black background, Shub describes in a propagandistic manner the social and political unrest across Russia during the years between 1913 to 1917, culminating in the victory of the Bolsheviks. The film traces in chronological order class tensions, the brutality of the First World War, and a pointed negligence of the Tsar and his ministers– all catalysts of a revolution. Notable highlights include juxtaposed shots of the bourgeois leisure with peasant workers, portrait shots of ministers from the “hateful regime,” soldiers fighting in trenches on the front lines, and workers marching on the streets with signs of celebration. The film ends with footage of Lenin informally shaking hands with a worker.

Esfir Shub was part of the Lev collective, an avant-garde literary and visual publication that fully embraced the communist conception of artist as worker. Working within a larger Constructivist moment, Shub was allowed the resources and opportunity to work with male artists as equals and thus, contributed this propagandistic film to the promotion of the communist party. Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

You can find the film at:
To learn more about gender and Soviet film, visit:
Stollery, Martin. “Eisenstein, Shub and the Gender of the Author as Producer.” Film History: An International Journal, vol. 14, no. 1, 2002, pp. 87–99., doi:10.2979/fil.2002.14.1.87.
Photo from IMDb.

Bellara Huang, Fall 2019, Feminist Film and Media Studies

No Girls Allowed (dir. Darlene Craviotto, 2011)

Filmmaker: Darlene Craviotto
Year: 2011
Country of origin: United States
Running Time: 52 min.
Original Format: Digital Video, DVD

No Girls Allowed 

Up until 1983, Philadelphia’s Central High School enjoyed a longstanding and prestigious reputation as America’s last all-male public school. Darlene Craviotto’s 2011 documentary No Girls Allowed traces the steps taken by seven girls who changed its legacy forever.

The film begins with the court case between Central High and Susan Vorchheimer, who wanted to attend the school because of its superior academic opportunities. Despite a court-ordered mandate to let her in, the school was obstinate in its unisex tradition, and she was not allowed to attend Central. Vorchheimer remained at Girls High, the standard choice for girls in the area. A few years later, a group of six students from Girls High pushed even harder for admittance to the boys’ school and won what Vorchheimer couldn’t; it was not, however, won easily.

In interviews with the women who achieved desegregation at Central, they coolly recount the relentless name-calling, pranks, and the overall sense of heavy isolation inflicted upon them not only by their male classmates but by their male teachers as well. These stories, however, do not infuse the film with the gloominess that may be expected. They discuss the sadness they felt because of these events but seem more excited to recall inspiring moments of resistance: the press conference in which they boldly declared their right to equal education to the media, the astute sense that they were involved in a defining moment for women’s liberation, and the striking image of flowers planted in the urinals of the newly-instated girls’ bathroom (the building had no urinal-free bathrooms, for obvious reasons).

Craviotto’s clear narratorial voice and rigorous incorporation of local newspaper articles and news segments makes No Girls Allowed a valuable resource for anyone seeking a personalized collective account of what happened at Central High. The events that transpired when the Central Six refused to be shut out by the “traditions” so dearly clung to by an ivy-clad institution illuminate feminism’s intersections with educational policy and the patriarchal history of American public schooling.

“The story of the struggle to open Central High School to female students is vividly reconstructed by filmmaker Darlene Craviotto in her engaging documentary No Girls Allowed.”
–  Juliet A. Williams
The Separate Solution? Single-Sex Education and the New Politics of Gender Equality, pp. 167.