A Miami student was delighted to see how “real” the women were in “Oppressione,” a 1945 film set in Fascist Italy, after his film studies class screened the film on Monday. Malcolm Tedders, a sophomore political science and history double major, was excited to tell his classmates how much he enjoyed the female characters.
“All of the women were so human and so easy to understand, despite their emotional complexity,” said Tedders. “Honestly, the women were my favorite character.”
Tedders was impressed by the women’s authentic character arcs, which ranged from a prostitute who sells out her true love for money, to a young mother who is shot in the street while chasing after the men arresting her true love. The latter of the two was politically outspoken, pregnant out of wedlock and dead within the first 20 minutes of the film.
“I am a huge supporter of women, so seeing such a diverse and modern array of female representation so early on is totally cool,” said Tedders, “especially because the director didn’t rely on overused tropes. This film was way ahead of its time.”
When asked his opinion on the male characters — many of whom died moments after delivering an intense, thought-provoking monologue on why they’d prefer death over compromising their morals — Tedders had no comment.
While Tedders’ impassioned analysis went on for several minutes, many of his classmates were not fully convinced of his argument. Sheila Davidson, a junior in Tedders’ class, took a different stance on the film.
“I mean, it was Fascist Italy, so I wasn’t really expecting the movie to depict strong, nuanced female characters, and it didn’t,” said Davidson. “Also, Malcolm keeps referring to the women as a collective. I don’t think he realizes they were different people.”
Davidson and a few other female classmates presented their counterpoints to Tedders’ argument. However, Tedders was rapidly swiping through a dating app and did not appear to be listening.