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LGM Film Club, Part 177: Making an American Citizen

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This remarkable Alice Guy Blaché film from 1912, Making an American Citizen, is a story in four parts. It shows an eastern European peasant and his wife becoming Americans. In each of the four parts, the husband beats his wife. But as an American, that has consequences. He won’t really learn until he serves time in prison for domestic violence after she, also becoming an American, starts standing up to him.

Silent films were pretty upfront about domestic violence. Lots of scenes of couples fighting or beating children. The only other film I’ve ever seen deal with it this directly though is another 1912 film, The Land Beyond the Sunset, which was about child abuse. Maybe we’ll watch that in the series too.

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