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Girl in Tails

Flickan i frack
Directed by: Karin Swanström
SE 1926121'

Katja Kock is by no means ugly – she just chooses to dress like a shabby washerwoman because her eccentric father refuses her brother nothing, while her needs are left ignored. She’s finally had enough, so she heads to the school graduation dance wearing her brother’s tailcoat, even being as bold as to smoke a cigar and partake in brandy. Rebellious Katja may be engaged to a nobleman, but the people of her small town are not ready to accept this kind of behaviour.

This sparkling comedy in seven acts is one of the top films of Sweden’s silent film era, and director Karin Swanström’s (1873-1942) last feature-length film. Swanström herself plays the widow of the town’s minister, a terrifying figure who acts as the moral authority and who laments that some local girls ‘behave with an audacity worse than that of the Renaissance’. Continuing her acting career, Swanström became the creative director and leading producer of Svensk Filmindustri, Sweden’s largest film studio, and the most influential woman in the country’s film industry.

Foreword by the programme curator: Ballroom etiquette can seal your fate. Gender identity as a hot potato almost a hundred years ago.