Author Topic: NYT: Women Not Behind the Camera  (Read 7878 times)

Offline mariez

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Re: NYT: Women Not Behind the Camera
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2009, 02:09:30 pm »
Since I rarely go to the movies and am woefully ignorant about the behind the scenes stuff (I've never even heard of some of the names that have been mentioned here  :-\ ), I can't personally add anything to the discussion.  But this popped up on my LJ f-list today and seems to be on topic:

http://uppityliberal.livejournal.com/193677.html
The measure of a country's greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis         ~~~~~~~~~Thurgood Marshall

The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.    ~~~~~~~~~ Mark Twain

Offline delalluvia

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Re: NYT: Women Not Behind the Camera
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2009, 02:49:06 pm »
Excellent article marie, thanks for posting.

The truth is that the films that make the most money (whether in sheer box office cash or in the percentage they make back over their budgets) are almost exclusively stories told from a male point of view. Both women and men will see these films, so they naturally make more money. Women also will see films from a womanís point of view, but men generally donít.

I saw a commercial once, forgot where.  It was about a bunch of teenaged boys looking at the movie posters on the street outside a theater, trying to decide on a 'good' movie.  You could see two movie posters.  One was something like "Galactic skateboard mercenaries" and the other was "Circle of sisters".  They are talking that "Galactic skateboarders" looks like a 'good' movie.  A guy comes out of the theater and overhears them.  

He says to them, "'Galactic skateboarders' - bad.  'Circle of sisters' - good."

The commercial was about introducing young men to a better quality of motion pictures, but I reckoned - as the article states - that these young men aren't really movie connossieurs.  They're looking for something that piques their interest, that promotes a lifestyle they find adventurous and that they can identify with.

No matter how good, a movie about sisters isn't going to do it for them.

The article mentions The Godfather as one of the best movies even though it is mostly about men.  And realistically it should be all about men.

I've never seen it.  Can't tell you how many guys have told me that I must watch it because it is such a good movie.

Never seen Scarface, never seen Goodfellows.

Because I have zero interest in mafias and mobsters.  No matter how good a movie it is, if it doesn't interest me, promotes a lifestyle I find interesting or is something that I can identify with, I'm not going to see it.

It has always irked me how movies about women are mostly family dramas, that deal with serious issues of incest, rape or abuse of some sort, bad/having to make a decision about marriages, poor relations with lovers/boyfriends/children.  Is it any wonder I'm a geek and love the sci-fi genre where women can be warriors and assassins, rebels and rulers, soldiers and survivors?  One of my favorite movies in my teenaged years was the original movie Alien.

Rented this and was just blown away by the female character.  Her name was Ripley.  She was a working woman.  She was an officer.  She told others - including some tough guys - what to do.  They would follow her.  She never brought up her personal life, she didn't have a boyfriend on board, wasn't secretly in love with someone.  She was just a working stiff in the wrong place at the wrong time finding a measure of personal strength to overcome horrific events and odds.  I could completely identify with her.  She was - and still is - my hero.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 05:38:21 pm by delalluvia »

Offline serious crayons

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Re: NYT: Women Not Behind the Camera
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 07:54:23 pm »
Well these women do finance some of their own pictures, make movie deals that include producing.  None of these women have been totally successful.  But remember, Drew's biggest hit as a producer?  Yep, jiggles and action - Charlie's Angels.

Directors making action movies don't finance them out of their own pockets.

The point is, most would-be directors do not have total control over what projects they get hired or financed to do. Women are not perceived as bankable, nor as competent to direct movies other than light rom-coms, so they have a hard time getting hired and/or financed.

Quote
Yes, but not exclusively and some of his movies were critically acclaimed.  Few were successful financially hence his recent outgrowth.  Spike Lee is also famous for limiting himself:

The kind of movies Spike Lee makes tend not to be giant blockbuster hits, and not just the ones about the black experience (though I would bet Inside Man might have done OK). However, because his movies are critically applauded and he's a household name, he doesn't seem to have trouble getting work. What the article says about women's difficulties might apply to some black directors, however.



Offline delalluvia

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Re: NYT: Women Not Behind the Camera
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2009, 02:13:39 pm »
Directors making action movies don't finance them out of their own pockets.

The point is, most would-be directors do not have total control over what projects they get hired or financed to do. Women are not perceived as bankable, nor as competent to direct movies other than light rom-coms, so they have a hard time getting hired and/or financed.

She didn't direct the movie, she was one of the producers.

Quote
The kind of movies Spike Lee makes tend not to be giant blockbuster hits, and not just the ones about the black experience (though I would bet Inside Man might have done OK). However, because his movies are critically applauded and he's a household name, he doesn't seem to have trouble getting work. What the article says about women's difficulties might apply to some black directors, however.

Inside Man was one of Spike's first foray into widening his horizons as a movie-maker.  As for finding work, I don't imagine he has trouble either, but he might have some trouble getting the work he wants.  He wanted Ali, he didn't get it. 

Offline serious crayons

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Re: NYT: Women Not Behind the Camera
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2009, 12:08:55 pm »
She didn't direct the movie, she was one of the producers.

I mentioned "directors" in reference to the article that started this thread. We're talking about women not getting work as directors, right? But producers don't finance movies out of their own pockets, either.

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Inside Man was one of Spike's first foray into widening his horizons as a movie-maker.  As for finding work, I don't imagine he has trouble either, but he might have some trouble getting the work he wants.  He wanted Ali, he didn't get it. 

Again, I'm not sure what you mean about Spike Lee's horizons. He didn't seem to have been particularly pigeonholed before Inside Man -- he did comedies and character dramas and biopics with a diverse range of stories and themes. I guess if he'd always been longing to make a movie about a bank job, Inside Man might be seen as a departure. But IMO, it was probably the least interesting of the movies of his I've seen (though one of the more interesting bank-job movies I've seen -- you could tell it was directed by someone with imagination).

As for wanting particular movies but not getting them, I would guess that happens to most directors sometimes. He did direct Malcolm X, which I would think of as similar to Ali as a biopic of a familiar figure from recent history starring a popular A-list actor.

My point is, I don't think Spike Lee has been suffering from lack of interesting work in the way that the article in the OP talks about women directors not getting interesting work. I'm sure there probably ARE black directors who are in that boat; it just doesn't seem to me that Spike Lee is one of them.




Marie, that blog essay was interesting and the writer sounds like she knows what she's talking about. Thanks for posting it. I've never thought of female critics being in short supply, what with the legendary Pauline Kael as well as several of the critics I most often read now -- the excellent Dana Stevens in Slate, Stephanie Zacharek in Salon -- but she's probably right, and it's interesting to consider how that might shape what films get anointed.

I also think this paragraph is important:

It isn't just that many men--including male critics--somehow think their balls are going to fall off if they watch a movie about a woman. It's that what speaks to any of us is going to be characters or emotional issues we can identify with. And since one of our primary identities is gender (see my previous post), that means that stories about men's lives and emotional dilemmas are naturally going to resonate more with male critics. They are going to find more of a "human" story in something like "There Will be Blood" than something like "Veronica Guerin".


The fact is, males don't like to watch movies about females, whereas the reverse is not true. Disney historically has used far more male lead characters, under the assumption that only girls will watch movies about girls. And it's not just action or sports movies. Comedies in which the central characters are all women are chick flicks, but male ones aren't ghettoized as dick flicks.