Céline Sciamma’s Films (‘Girlhood,’ ‘Tomboy,’ and ‘Water Lilies’) Capture the Complexities of Adolescence
French director and screenwriter Céline Sciamma of ‘Water Lilies,’ ‘Tomboy,’ and ‘Girlhood’ has gained critical acclaim for her portrayals of adolescence and coming-of-age, particularly on themes of gender and sexuality. … This undefined, yet crucial space is an uncomfortable one and Sciamma’s films excel because they embrace the chaotic ambiguity of youthful liminality.
In addition to her work in film, Nora Ephron was a journalist, playwright, and novelist; unsurprisingly, her stock in trade is words. Crucially, what she does with these words is to give women room. For these women at the center of her films, there is, above all, space. Space not simply to be the best version of themselves, but all the versions of themselves: confident, neurotic, right, wrong, flawed.
I can’t think of another female director – in the United States, or in Mexico, who has accomplished such a feat. This is noteworthy, not only because she’s a woman filmmaker, but because she is also a woman of color. So how has she done this? Obviously talent has played a major role in her success. But more importantly, Riggen has not boxed herself into any one genre, nor has she allowed anyone else in the industry to box her in.
That film is ‘Wild,’ a modern-day fable unlike any of the Aesop-influenced tales you heard as a child. It tells the story of a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is forever changed after a chance encounter with a wolf. By turns intense and outlandish, deeply emotional and utterly outrageous, ‘Wild’ busts taboos left and right to show audiences how true happiness can be achieved if one sets societal expectations aside and embraces one’s true nature.
Andrea Arnold’s films largely focus on the female experience, predominantly that of young women transitioning into adulthood. … It is here then, that Arnold’s depiction of female desire and agency warrants praise. Star acts on her own wants and needs, and seeing Jake, acknowledges her longing. She consciously rejects the current trajectory of her life, and intentionally and purposefully seeks a new one.
One message reinforced in panels throughout the day — including the “Gender Identity: Understanding Through Art” panel earlier that morning — was best articulated by filmmaker Kellee Terrell: the need for diversity in film. The revelation of ‘Get Out’ sparked a conversation on representation, universal experiences, and relating to what’s on-screen.
The decision to continually depict Caitlin as afraid of herself and her abilities is unsettling. Women are almost always taught to fear their own power, instead of embracing it or attempting to understand it. It’s sad to see that pattern repeating on a show that has so few leading women in the first place. … Caitlin’s journey shouldn’t be about whether she might turn into a monster, it should be about her becoming whole.
The point of the story is that, like so many vampires, he’s been transformed against his will into a creature he can’t quite make peace with. It’s an insight into vampires – backed by what seems to be an encyclopedic knowledge of how they have been portrayed in film – but just as interestingly, and perhaps more importantly, it’s an insight into how our experiences shape us; how early the die can be cast on the type of people we grow up to be.
Although primarily a horror film, ‘American Psycho’ has a satiric backbone that appropriates codes from the romantic comedy genre to expose the absurdities of our gender ideals. Director and co-writer Mary Harron’s lens skewers the qualities we find appealing in romantic comedies as terrifying.
Too often, representations of women fall into clichéd binary opposites in the style of Levi-Strauss. Thus, TV shows feature the “good” woman in direct conflict with the “bad” woman, with this clash driving the narrative forward. Mickey encompasses both; she is simultaneously good and bad, selfish and giving, childish and mature. It is this complexity that ensures Mickey’s believability and development as a character. She is real and human, and thus, relatable.
Jackie’s deeply emotional outbursts may stand in stark contrast to the alien’s lack of empathy, but both women share a troubling alienation from the people around them. Mica Levi’s scores make this alienation audible, the grim discomfort of her music allowing the audience to feel, even for 90 minutes, the terror of such a solitude.
Women directors face myriad obstacles: despite there being an abundance of talented female directors struggling to produce work, many companies refuse to give them projects — only 3.4% of all film directors are female, only 7% of the 250 top-grossing movies in 2016 were directed by women… Despite all these obstacles and hardships, women continue to make amazing work with a wide range of genres and topics.