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Ronin Films

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Year: 1988

Classification: PG

Runtime: 59 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Mitzi Goldman, Trish FitzSimons

Produced By: Mitzi Goldman, Trish FitzSimons

Language: English

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A FILM ABOUT WOMEN, HISTORY AND EDUCATION. Drawing on interviews and a striking selection of archival footage, this film reveals the expectations and achievements of women who have struggled to gain a tertiary education - and the reality of discrimination.

The film employs the unusual device of a whimsical investigator, Sophia Whist, who pieces together the elements of the film's story. She discovers a magic book in the Public Library - an old leather-bound volume called SNAKES AND LADDERS.

In its pages she meets ten women between the ages of 16 and 94, who talk about their education. Their stories are about wanting an education; wanting more from their education; fighting to extend their options, and demanding to be taught material that incorporates the experience of women.

SNAKES AND LADDERS is a story of two steps forward, one step back - of achievement in one generation often hidden from the next.

"I began to look at a lot of historical material to try and gain some sort of understanding as to why it was that women in Australia faced such narrow choices ... I found this great body of material existed, and had clearly never been used, or where it had been used by an earlier generation of feminists, had then been left to lie on the shelf forgotten." - Anne Summers in SNAKES AND LADDERS.

"When women look for their own reflections, they find that the images of women are elusive, and are to be found ... in those almost unlit corridors of history where the figures of generations of women are so dimly and fitfully perceived." - Virginia Woolf in A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN.

Produced and directed by Trish FitzSimons and Mitzi Goldman
Cinematographer Sally Bongers
Original Music Shirley Billing
Book design and animation Julie Cunningham

Featuring Robin Laurie as Sophia Whist.