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New Moviediva Series Skips The Damsels In Distress

Promotional photo from 1937 screwball comedy 'The Awful Truth' starring actors Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The actors face away from each other and the scruffy actor dog sits between them.
Columbia Pictures

Film Curator Laura Boyes is a sucker for old romantic movies. But digging for gems from the golden age of cinema also tends to turn up sexist tropes: the two-dimensional secretary, naive blonde and women who flounder without significant male help.

In the new “Moviediva Film Series” at the Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham, Boyes is highlighting old films that tell a different story: ones where women have agency and use strategy and wit to champion their own narratives.

Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, speaks with guest host Anita Rao about the series and some of its featured movies, such as “The Awful Truth,” “Born Yesterday” and “Nine To Five.” The series runs from July 18 to November with a film playing on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.