Alice James: the sister of great intellectuals, odd, sick. Diagnosis: “hysteria.” Treatment: strict bed rest. In this or similar ways Alice was described during her life, for the 19th century wasn’t yet over, and the times had no other categories to understand the willful woman. Alice James, the author? Pioneer of women’s education? An icon of early feminism? Under other circumstances, these descriptions could have prevailed. Within the strict confines left to her, Alice explores the potential of her own agency. She defies the expectations placed upon her and her womanhood by society and her family. And she inscribes herself into history with letters and diaries that provide a glimpse of her thought, allowing a new perspective on an amazing person.
The young director Antonia Ortmanns stages Simone Scharbert’s poetic invocation of Alice James intimately, setting out with her team on a search for female resistance and solidarity –an attempt at approximating a life lived in rebellion against patriarchal structures past and present.