Gillian Armstrong

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The first reason I chose Gillian Armstrong for my research paper is because I admire her dedication and ambition to become a director even though it was a male-dominated job at the time. She is an extremely ambitious and independent woman that didn’t let anything get in her way of pursuing her goal to become a director. The second reason I picked Gillian Armstrong is because she is the director of Little Women, which has been an all-time favorite film of mine since I was little.
Armstrong has explored several genres, including gangster, musical, and most frequently, period drama. The three films I am going to explore are My Brilliant Career, Mrs. Soffel and Little Women. These are all period drama films that evolve female characteristics and feature women in lead roles. These films demonstrate the stylistic pattern of story telling, (Carter, 2002).
Gillian Armstrong produced My Brilliant Career in 1979. This film was the highlight of the period drama, which was popular in Australia at that time. Armstrong became the first woman to direct a feature length drama in Australia in 46 years, (Carter, 2002). The film is about Sybylla Melvyn, a sensitive, passionate young woman with high hopes for a writing career. When offered the opportunity to escape her outback station home to stay with relatives in New South Wales, she accepts willingly. In New South Wales, her cultural openness and writing career is encouraged. She eventually meets Harry Beecham who is wealthy and handsome. Sybylla struggles with the tough decisions between ambition and independence, and between love and marriage. She eventually sacrifices romance with Harry and takes a job as a governess in the McScwatt household while still pursuing her goal as becoming a writer. Sybylla eventually finds success as a writer and also as an independent woman.
Mrs. Soffel was produced by Armstrong in 1984. This film was directed in Pittsburgh, and was her first American film, (Carter, 2002). This film is about a woman named Kate Soffel who is the wife of the warden of the Allegheny County jail. Her job is to distribute Bibles and read the scriptures to the prisoners. Kate is unhappy and unsatisfied with her lifestyle. She is tired of her husband constantly controlling what she can and cannot do. Kate eventually falls in love with Ed Biddle, who is a prisoner being wrongly sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of a grocer during a robbery.

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