Reel Women in Film: Four Women | Illusions

Online Program

Streams Daily February 23 - 25, 2021

Q&A Feburary 25, 2021 at 7:30pm

Discover a vision of the African American experience through art and story.

Event Details

The combined screening of Julie Dash's short films, Four Women and Illusions celebrates her insightful earlier work and the way Dash was able to weave narrative and art into one. Four Women (1975) is an imaginatively choreographed dance interpretation of the ballad by Nina Simone on four common stereotypes of Black women. Illusions (1982) is set in a fictitious Hollywood studio in 1942 and contrasts society's views of Black women with their self-perceptions. After the screening, we will be joined by Dr. Lisa B. Thompson, award-winning playwright, scholar, and professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Museum's Reel Women in Film series highlights the works of women in front of or behind the camera. In its third season, we'll reflect on the scope and impact of art and music.

Enjoy access to a virtual film screening of Julie Dash's two short films, Four Women (1975), and Illusions (1982) and connect with the Bullock Museum for a LIVE conversation about the films on Thursday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Educators, to receive CPE credit please email

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Tickets are $5 for this event. Your ticket purchase directly supports the Bullock Museum's exhibitions and educational programming.

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Film Credits

Four Women
Rating: NR
Suggested age: 18+
Director: Julie Dash
Runtime: 7 min
Genre: Short
Release Year: 1975

Rating: NR
Suggested age: 18+
Director: Julie Dash
Runtime: 34 min
Genre: Drama
Release Year: 1982

About the Director

Born in New York City, Julie Dash is a filmmaker, music video and commercial director, author, and website creator. Her film studies began in Harlem in 1969, but eventually led her to the American Film Institute and UCLA, where she made The Diary of an African Nun (1977), based on a short story by Alice Walker, which won a student award from the Directors Guild of America. Dash’s critically acclaimed short film Illusions (1982) later won the Jury Prize for Best Film of the Decade awarded by the Black Filmmakers Foundation.

Dash’s first feature — Daughters of the Dust (1991) — was the first film by an African American woman to receive a general theatrical release in the United States; the Library of Congress named it to the National Film Registry in 2004. Dash returned to the film’s characters and their Gullah milieu in her novel of the same title, published in 1999.

Her television films include Love Song (2000), starring R&B singer Monica Arnold, the romantic thriller Incognito (1999), and the domestic drama Funny Valentines (1999). Dash was nominated for a Directors Guild Award for The Rosa Parks Story (2002) starring Angela Bassett.

She has directed music videos for Tony! Toni! Toné!, Keb’ Mo’, Peabo Bryson, Adriana Evans, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Tracy Chapman.

About the Guest Speaker

Lisa B. Thompson is an award-winning playwright, scholar, and professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of three books, Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class (University of Illinois Press, 2009), Single Black Female (Samuel French Inc. 2012), and Underground, Monroe, and The Mamalogues: Three Plays (Northwestern University Press, 2020).

Thompson’s plays, which have been produced off-Broadway, throughout the US, and internationally, include Single Black Female (LA Weekly Theatre Award for Best Comedy nominee, Irma P. Hall Black Theatre Award Best Play winner), Underground, (Austin Critics Circle David Mark Cohen New Play Award winner, Broadway World Regional Awards Best Writing of an Original Work nominee), Monroe (Austin Playhouse Festival of New Texas Plays winner), The Mamalogues (Broadway World Regional Awards Best Writing of an Original Work winner), and Dinner (Crossroads Theatre Genesis New Play Festival).

Thompson has received teaching awards from the Texas Exes and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Her scholarly and creative work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies; the University of Texas at Austin’s Humanities Institute; the W. E. B. DuBois Research Institute at Harvard University; the Michele R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research; the Five Colleges, the University of California’s Office of the President; Stanford University’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity; Hedgebrook; the Millay Colony for the Arts; and MacDowell. She is currently an inaugural fellow at the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy Faculty at the LBJ School.

About Film Programs

Film programs at the Bullock Museum seek to connect the public with filmmakers and their art that you won't find just anywhere. From Texas-specific titles to films from around the globe, these programs will open-up a world of stories and culture for visitors. The Bullock Museum is committed to sharing the work of filmmakers of all backgrounds and identities.

At the Bullock Museum, programs have been a place for the community to gather and celebrate culture, explore new ideas, and share experiences together. During the COVID-19 pandemic, programs still provide an opportunity to bring the community together, even if we are apart. 

Zoom Information

You will be prompted to download the Zoom application for mobile or desktop if it is not already installed. You do not need a Zoom account to join this livestream.

For security and privacy purposes, attendees will not have video or audio capabilities. Questions will be moderated by Museum staff. Participants will not be allowed to send private messages or media in the livestream.

Banner image courtesy Third World News Reel

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a division of the Texas State Preservation Board. Additional support for educational programming provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.

Reel Women in Film 2020 - 2021 Season