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A Call to Arms

Cordelia Swann
1989
22 min Colour<br> Super 8/Video

A Call to Arms

A Call to Arms is an allegory for both the inner and outer struggles a woman is faced with in her day-to-day existence.

"'A Call to Arms' (1989) was Swann's first project to use a script, not least because of the practical circumstances described above. The images were shot and then put together using index cards, in the same way Swann made 'Desert Rose' ten years later. For Swann, the film's feminism comes out of autobiography and not feminist agendas per se. It is presented as a gift to her grandmother, who was a suffragette; and is a combination of a tribute to her and the film-maker's continued interest in a 19th century lyrical aesthetic.

The film evokes both a homecoming and a coming of age for its banner-waving main character, who ends up, after her adventures in shining armour, in the nurturing presence and embrace of an older, maternal, symbolic figure of solace and redemption. It marks the beginning of a thematic journey in Swann's work about the relationship of women to war." - Sotiris Kyriacou

A Call to Arms is an allegory for both the inner and outer struggles a woman is faced with in her day-to-day existence. It is also a 'call to arms' to overcome those struggles by creating a new mythology to counteract the diet of 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Snow White' on which women are raised. A Call to Arms is set sometimes in the past and takes place in a mythical land. A woman dressed in chainmail rouses herself from sleep and starts to prepare and dress for battle. As she prepares, a mixture of dreams, memories and voices unravel in her head, a gamut of conflicting emotions and thoughts towards her past life...[From Telling Stories, South West Arts Film Tour, 1989]

With Brenda Swann and Tilda Swinton
Camera Cordelia Swann/George Saxon
Performance of Cello and Sound Design Stuart Jones

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