Tag Archives: Equity

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.

Ella es el Matador (Gemma Cubero and Celeste Carrasco, 2009)

Country of Origin: ,
Running Time: 62 min

Format: Color, DVD

Ella es el Matador (She is the Matador), as the title indicates, is a documentary film about two female bullfighters and their career in Spain and Latin America. The film features the life of a celebrated, professional female matador, Maripaz Vega, and of a novice, Eva Florencia. By depicting both the life within the bullfighting society and the process to enter the professional world, the movie rigorously captures the inequalities and obstacles that exist in the rigidly gendered – extremely masculine – bullfighting society.

In terms of narrative elements, Ella es el Matador consists of two big parts and these parts are blended into the flow of narration throughout the movie: individual lives of Maripaz and Eva and historical path of female bullfighters in Spain and Latin America. The lives of two female bullfighters are told mostly via the interviews of their family members and themselves; in an interview, Maripaz’s father proudly expresses his amazement toward his daughter’s achievement, mentioning that none of Maripaz’s brothers could attain the matador status. Eva’s run-away story from Italy to Spain for her passionate love of bullfighting when she was only sixteen is quite dramatic and impressive, too. The interviews of male matadors and audience also convey how deeply the gendered notion of bullfighting is ingrained in Spanish society. Along with these aspects, the movie provides historical background of women’s participation in bullfighting, “Franco’s Law,” which banned women from partaking in bullfighting, and unstated prohibition that still exists these days.

However, despite the discouraging attitude of the society that is shown in the interviews and history, two women’s passion and fascination of bull and bullfighting can never be missed in the movie; especially, the visuals vividly conveys the emotions. There are many close-up shots of Maripaz and Eva when they talk or are in practice; their fierce eyes talk more about their passion and love about bullfighting. Moreover, camera’s focus on their gestures – movements even in the tips of the hands and toes – and the rhythmical line that flows throughout their bodies when they are in the ring demonstrates the beauty and sensation of bullfighting and helps audience understand the meaning of being a matador.

Although Ella es el Matador does not suggest any particular solution to the gendered bullfighting society in Spain, it does describe well the realities of women matadors through the inclusion of different paths that Maripaz and Eva have ended up taking in the end of the movie. Especially, if one compares Ella es el Matador with Pedro Almodóvar’s movie on a female matador, Hable con Ella (Talk to Her) (2002), he/she can easily find the different attitudes in depicting women bullfighters of two movies.

Maripaz Vega


For further information:

Ella es el Matador page on Women Make Movies website:


Talcual films website (in French):


P.O.V. Ella es el Matador trailer:


Maripaz Vega on Bullfighting News:


Article about Maripaz Vega’s recent activity:


Art work of Eva Florencia:


Trailer of Hable con Ella:


Soomin Kim 2013.