Flesh After Fifty: challenging stereotypes of ageing females in film

A program of six films resists older women's invisibility. 'Flicks after Fifty' Programmer Kirsten Stevens says finding them was harder than it should have been.

‘Something happens to flesh after fifty.’ This was said with some sadness by the famous screen siren Joan Crawford when she was in her early 50s, posing for publicity shots for her film Autumn Leaves, about a spinster wooed by a man many years her junior. The fact Crawford also insisted that photojournalist Eve Arnold record her in the nude suggests something of the actress’s sass and defiance; her refusal to become invisible.

Resisting invisibility is also at the heart of the Flesh After Fifty program of art exhibitions, public events, author talks and film screenings that are all aimed at changing images of older women in art.

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Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk