ACMI’s Goddess exhibition honours women of all colours, sexualities and nationalities

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What does a 1906 French short film by Alice Guy-Blaché have in common with Josephine Baker and Marlene Dietrich? They’re being honoured in the exhibition Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion (Goddess exhibition) being held at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image in Melbourne until 1 October 2023.

Goddess exhibition
ACMI’s Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion, photo by Eugene Hyland

The Goddess exhibition celebrates the women and gender-transcending superstars who shaped their own roles, took creative control and fought a system that tried to exploit them. It does so through moments from over 120 years of moving image history highlighting iconic stories, characters and moments.


The exhibition includes never-before-seen costumes, original sketches, interactive experiences and cinematic treasures, including iconic outfits worn by Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Geena Davis and Margot Robbie. The women featured in the Goddess exhibition are far more than the bombshells, starlets or screen siren stereotypes that were used to undermine them.

Goddess exhibition
ACMI’s Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion, photo by Eugene Hyland

French links in the Goddess exhibition include a 1906 French short film Les Résultats du féminisme (Consequences of Feminism), from Alice Guy-Blaché. A gender-bending comedy which sees men raising the kids, ironing and sewing while women smoke, drink and prey upon the ‘weaker sex’ with lurid advances. The short film addresses the fears about feminism not being about euality but about waging war on men. It playfully suggests that men wouldn’t tolerate being treated the way women are so why should they expect women to.


French Légion d’honneur awarded Marlene Dietrich is also celebrated in the Goddess exhibition, with pieces worn by her on show. These include

  • patent leather and silk grosgrain ribbon Delman Tuxedo pumps, kindly provided for the exhibition by the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandizing, Los Angeles; and
  • 14ct gold and ruby cufflinks from Marlene Dietrich’s personal wardrobe courtesy of Deutsche Kinemathek – Marlene Dietrich.


Marlene Dietrich made her own path and courted controversy for doing so. The first lesbian kiss in cinema wearing a tuxedo was by Marlene Dietrich. She was reprimanded in Paris for wearing trousers. A flyer from the Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong in Shanghai Express film is on show at the Goddess exhibition.

Goddess exhibition/ exposition Goddess
ACMI’s Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion, photo by Eugene Hyland

Another woman embraced by the French is Josephine Baker who Goddess celebrates for weaponizing glamour. Baker was the first African American woman lead in a feature film, Sirens of the Tropics (1927). Though the film and Baker’s ‘banana dance’ conjured White colonial fantasies, her performances parodied the sexualisation of Black women.


Baker was also a war hero for the French Resistance. When Germany invaded France in World War II, Baker weaponised her glamour to defend her adopted home. After spying on German officers, she smuggled top-secret messages in her underwear unsuspected. Back in America, she wouldn’t perform for segregated audiences and was the only woman who spoke alongside Martin Luther King Jr in the 1963 March on Washington.


The Goddess exhibition includes sketches for Josephine Baker’s stage costumes Eric De Juan, 1949 (courtesy of Fashion Institute of Technology SUNY, FIT Library Unit of Special Collections and College Archives), and an exhibition print by Michael Ochs, 1951.


The Goddess exhibition is an ode to be a boundary-breaking, glass-ceiling smashing women and is on at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image until the beginning of October 2023.




WHAT: Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion exhibition

WHERE: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Gallery 4, Lower Ground, Federation Square, Melbourne

WHEN: 5 April – 1 October 2023

HOW: Purchase your Goddess exhibition tickets via the ACMI website:

HOW MUCH: Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Full price: $25
  • Concession: $24
  • ACMI Member: $22
  • Family (2 adults + 2 kids): $65
  • Child (4–15 yrs): $15
  • Group (6+): $22 per person
  • Flexi: $35

Goddess exhibition


Simone: Woman of the century – an important film about an inspiring woman showing at Europa! Europa

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Simone: Woman of the century is an important film telling the inspiring story of an important woman who defied the odds (and death at Auschtwitz), broke barriers and crammed a lot into her 89 years. The film is also known as Simone: The journey of the century (Simone – Le voyage du siècle) and Simone, a Woman of the Century (Simone, une femme du siècle).

Simone: Woman of the Century

Director Olivier Dahan is no stranger to biopics having directed the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose (La Môme) which was released in 2007 and also Grace of Monaco (Grace de Monaco) in 2014. This film is nominated at the Cesar awards, which will be held later this month, for Best Production Design (Christian Marti) and Best Costume Design (Gigi Lepage).


Simone’s time in Auschwitz is interspersed throughout the film and it’s easy to see how her harrowing ordeal there informed the kindness and passion that she went on to embody in all of her life’s works thereafter. It must have been difficult to decide which parts of her life were included and those that weren’t and the film at a running time of 2 hours 20 minutes does an impressive job of showing many of her achievements and her struggles. From pushing to make abortion legal in France in a mostly male parliament, to overhauling the French prison system to give prisoner’s access to proper health care and hygiene and later advocating for the rights and fair treatment of people with HIV/AIDS.


The actresses Elsa Zylberstein, who played Simone Veil between 1968-2006, and Rebecca Marder, who played the younger Simone Jacob from 1942-1967, did so persuasively. Judith Chemla. who played her sister Milou, was also impressive – we could feel her heart-wrecnching pain through her facial expressions and piercing eyes.


The film darts between an older Simone sitting on her verandah by the sea writing notes in her notebook and the various moments of her life. We understand in the film that in those seaside scenes, she is writing a memoir and we know that in fact she wrote several. The film is narrated as if we are reading the words she is writing and we wonder whether the narrated words are in fact hers from her own memoirs – this much was unfortunately not made clear in the credits so we are unsure.


Scenes depicting Jewish people crammed into stuffy train carriages awaiting their fate and marching into the concentration camps were filmed in an almost sepia-like way. This gave them an ethereal feel, even though we know it was unfortunately all too real. It effectively made it feel like we were watching historic imagery from the time.


While Simone may have survived the war, this is not a film solely about it. However, you can see how her treatment at the hands of the Nazis as a teenager shaped the woman she was to become fighting for humanity and dignity for all. Simone: Woman of the century showcases the life and achievements of the inspiring Simone Weil and is worth watching to learn more about her alone.



Matilda Marseillaise received access to a screener of Simone: Woman of the century for the purposes of reviewing it.


You can see Simone: Woman of the century Showing at Europa! Europa In Melbourne and Sydney this February and March.



WHAT: Europa! Europa 2023 – a European film festival

WHERE: In Melbourne (Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick and Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn); and in Sydney (Ritz Cinemas, Randwick).

WHEN: 16 February – 7 March 2023

HOW: Buy your film tickets at

HOW MUCH: Ticket prices are as follows:

Single film tickets:

  • Adults $24
  • Concession and Classic, Lido and Ritz Cinemas members $18.50

Film passes:

  • 10 film pass $175 ($17.50 per ticket)
  • 20 film pass $330 ($16.50 per ticket)
  • Festival pass (1x redemption on each of the 29 films) $400

To find out more about Europa! Europa, read our article 

For other events with French and Francophone links happening in Australia this month, check out our What’s on in February article