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Be Pretty and Shut Up (15*) + Introduction by Daniella Shreir

Part of: Nevertheless, She Persisted

Behind the scenes, making Be Pretty and Shut Up

Frustrated by her own and other women's experiences in the film industry, French actress and activist Delphine Seyrig interviews two dozen French and American 1976.

The expectation to 'be pretty and shut up' is not new, nor has it disappeared since actress-activist Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad, Jeanne Dielman...) recorded these interviews over 40 years ago. Seyrig speaks to twenty four French and American actresses, including Maria Schneider, Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine, about their experience across the industry. 

Through their words, Seyrig reveals the frustrations of working within the patriarchal studio system that offers a stereotypical and reductive view of women through unimaginative and regressive roles. 

A compelling and ever-relevant cinematic herstory, this frank document gives voice to the concerns of women in the industry and demonstrates the way in which actresses have always supported each other privately, and the power of public declaration to effect change.


France 1981 Dir Delphine Seyrig 110 min

Yto Barrada, whose exhibition Agadir runs in the Curve Gallery, selected this title to celebrate the work of ‘feminist fabulous Delphine Seyrig …my favourite fairy godmother.’

Daniella Shreir is the founder-editor of printed feminist film journal Another Gaze, whose video series of interviews with women directors was inspired by Be Pretty and Shut Up (Sois Belle et Tais Toi). She works as a programmer, translator, and a graphic designer. She is currently working with director Elisabeth Subrin on production of a film about Maria Schneider, as well as touring a short film programme of women filmmakers' responses to sexual violence.

*This film is locally classified by Barbican Cinema 

Please arrive promptly at the advertised start time

Proof of ID may be requested on entry to films, in compliance with BBFC ratings

This film is F-Rated. The F-Rating is a classification for any film which is directed by a  woman, and/or written by a woman.

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illustration of shirley chisholm

Watch: Nevertheless, She Persisted

Inspired by the 100-year anniversary of the first women gaining the right to vote in the UK, we present a timely season of feature films and documentaries that look at women’s rebellious and often dangerous strides towards equality.

Barbican Cinema 2