Bechdel Test Movie List

/bech·del test/ n.
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

[[2]] A Florida Enchantment (1914) [imdb]

This movie passed 2 of 3 tests (although dubious). It was entered by Trina B on 2013-08-10 05:01:03.



Trina B said:
This film is VERY difficult to rate, and not just because it's a silent film.

The main character, Lillian Travers, eats a seed that turns her into a man. For the first half of the film, even after she eats the seed, she still dresses as a woman but has to shave her face, walks and behaves in a "manly" way, has an increase in strength, and even flirts with and kisses women. Everyone around her who knows her still sees her as a woman. If we, the audience, still see her as a woman who has just become butch, then the movie passes with flying colors. If we see her as being akin to a trans-man, then the movie only gets a rating of 2 out of 3, because all the conversations between women who identify as women are either about men, reference men (the scene where Bessie explains the mystery of the chest to Lillian, but references a portrait of the man who wrote the letter in the chest) or are group conversations in which men participate in the discussion. I'm inclined to interpret the movie in the former sense, because Lillian and her/his servant, who also eats a seed, aren't just cross-dressing and behaving in a traditionally masculine way. They both grow facial hair. Their physiology changes, as is evident on the boat scene where Dr. Fred, the fiancee, is perplexed and horrified by Lillian's increased muscle mass/arm shape, and the scene in which the servant, surprising Lillian, hoists a large chest on her/his shoulder with ease.

Anyway, this film is fascinating, and at times funny (the ballroom scene). It's considered THE first film depicting homosexuality/cross dressing/gender nonconformity... Even if it does it negatively at times. Be warned, though, this film is VERY offensive in terms of its use of blackface/racist jokes, and though it might be hailed the first gay film, representing queerness in an era that was starved of representation, it by no means celebrates homosexuality, and is sexist in a way very typical to anything from the early 20th century. As a historical curiosity, though, it's worth a watch.

What do you think? 3/3? 2/3?
Message posted on 2013-08-10 05:01:03

> Add comment

> Add review

Back to the list.

Privacy policy