A sprightly examination of an adventurous young woman posing as a man for a day. Precociously challenging social and sexual status-quo politics that don’t seem all that alien today, it’s a revitalised artefact that functions just as well as a saucy romp.
Ernst Lubitsch’s I Don’t Want to Be a Man (Ich möche kein Mann sein, 1918) does not so much exemplify the gender-bender comedy as it does transcend the genre altogether. At its best, because gender is socially conditioned, the gender-bender is always about inhibitive social politics in general. Exposing the arbitrary ways in which women and men are defined and shoehorned, this ostensibly light-hearted form has an almost inherently riotous bent to it.