Long before female journalists were preoccupied with shattering glass ceilings, they were fighting to escape the ghetto of the women’s pages. This fight got some traction during the Second World War, following a protracted battle by some very fine journalists who also happened to be very tough women. Though initially resistant, the U.S. army ultimately accredited 140 female war correspondents. And newspapers, also initially reluctant, turned the phenomenon into a public-relations exercise to market their papers. Still, these women faced many challenges – ranging from an outright ban at army press briefings to a lack of facilities in the field. But they soldiered on, and in some respects changed the nature of war reportage, by focusing not just on the military campaign but on the suffering of civilians. This documentary concentrates on three women – AP reporter Ruth Cowan, magazine writer Martha Gellhorn (married to Ernest Hemingway), and photographer Dickey Chapelle – and features extraordinary archival footage, and interviews with contemporary female war reporters. It only rings false in its use of actors to deliver the reporters’ words, in too-frequent and jarring staged scenes.
Oct. 8, 6 p.m. Granville 5;
Oct. 10, 2:30 p.m. Granville 5.