Not a Pretty Picture

In 1962, boarding school student Martha Coolidge was date raped at the age of sixteen. A dozen years later, she worked through the experience in her first feature-length film. A mix of re-enactment and documentary, it explores the event itself and its consequences. It started when Coolidge, along with three of her schoolmates, and a 21-year-old nicknamed Curly, drove to New York City for a party, filling up on cognac and Coke along the way. Hanging out in a borrowed apartment, the partying continues. Unnoticed by the others, Curly lures Martha into another room, where the older and stronger young man rapes her … The re-enactments are interwoven with footage of the director and actors talking. The actor playing young Martha recounts the story of her own rape, and the one playing Curly talks about the male high school experience. Praised as “Brechtian” by one U.S. critic, that meta format allowed both cast and crew, as well as the film’s audience, a prosaic approach to emotionally freighted events. International premiere of the digitally restored version (4K), made by the Academy Film Archive and the Film Foundation with the support of the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.
by Martha Coolidge
with Michele Manenti, Jim Carrington, Anne Mundstuk, John Fedinatz, Amy Wright, Stephen Laurier, Hal Studer, Janet Morrison, Reed Birney, Diana Gold
USA 1976 English 83’ Colour

For the 2023 Retrospective, internationally renowned directors, actors, and screenwriters were asked to select their personal coming-of-age favourites.
Céline Sciamma on her selection


  • Michele Manenti
  • Jim Carrington
  • Anne Mundstuk
  • John Fedinatz
  • Amy Wright
  • Stephen Laurier
  • Hal Studer
  • Janet Morrison
  • Reed Birney
  • Diana Gold


Director Martha Coolidge
Screenplay Martha Coolidge
Cinematography Don Lenzer, Fred Murphy
Editing Suzanne Pettit, Martha Coolidge
Music Tom Griffith
Sound Marytė Kavaliauskos
Costumes Lisa Kane
Make-Up Lisa Kane
Producer Martha Coolidge
Associate Producer Jan Saunders

Produced by

Coolidge Productions

Additional information

DCP: The Academy Film Archive, Los Angeles
Restored in 2022 by The Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.