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Films >> Yo, La Peor De Todas (I, The Worst of All) (1990) >>

Elizabeth (1998)
Even though it is not completely accurate, the film is important in relating how a woman manages to ascend to power but even then she is subjected to pressures for being a woman. Elizabeth turns from a romantic, young, and carefree woman to a hardened monarch, taking the reins of her kingdom (and of her own life) in her hands. She manages to defeat the men who attempt to silence her or the ones who want her to have an heir. However, she does pay a price for this, as her personal life does not belong to her any more, and she has to don the mask of the "virgin queen" in order to keep the English throne stable. In a way, her transformation and her abandonment of personal happiness are similar to the apparent abjuration of Juana Ines de la Cruz and due to the same reasons: the controlling and domineering patriarchal machine that puts restrictions on all women, even on those who enjoy considerable political power.
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
This is one of several films based on the life of Joan of Arc, and it definitely makes feminist history. A 15th-century woman makes history by bearing arms and leading the French army to victory. Her religious visions--true or not-- and her charisma make her powerful and ensure the followers that she had. A nineteen-year-old woman at the head of an army is still something that never ceases to amaze. Joan proves that women are equally endowed with organizational capabilities, not only fit to stay at home. Like Juana, she went against immense odds in order to save her country, and, like Juana, she is apparently the victim of a power play. Charles VII is afraid of Joan's power over the French and lets her fall in the hands of the English. She is accused of heresy and witchcraft, as numberless wise women in her time, and she is burned at stake in 1431. (See the issue essay by Audrey Gibbs and Nicole Robertson for more discussion of the comparison between Juana and Joan.)
Song of Bernadette (1943)
The film is based on a true story that took place in Lourdes (France) in 1858. Bernadette, a local girl, sees what she thinks is "a beautiful lady" near the town dump. She does not seem to claim that this vision is more than that, but the rest of the townspeople assume it is the Virgin Mary. Bernadette is also convinced, and she starts getting followers on her daily pilgrimage to the place of her vision. The local officials--especially the Mayor and the Imperial Prosecutor--are embarrassed, and fear that "their" town is going to turn into the laughing stock of the entire France. They also seem worried that Bernadette--a woman--will gain power among the townspeople, thereby disrupting the "natural" order of things. However, all their schemes to try and overcome Bernadette's faith do not succeed. Bernadette's vision was later confirmed by the Vatican, and she was canonized in 1933. As in I, the Worst of All, the viewer sees the efforts that the male order goes to in order to silence a woman and control her beliefs. It is interesting to see how the male discourse attempts to translate everything that comes from the female discourse (and therefore is not understood), and in the process of translation, misreading occurs--the vision did not "make sense" in a world ruled by male logic, so it had to be contained and controlled.