Comedy

Women-Directed Films at the Asian American Showcase

Finding Kukan

The lineup included The Tiger Hunter, (directed by Lena Khan)… Light (directed by Lenora Lee and Tatsu Aoki), and Finding Kukan (directed by Robin Lung). … Depictions of stories that are absent from an experience that is generally thought to be collective is definitely the point of film festivals like the Asian American Showcase. The film offerings this year illuminated the immigrant experience as an American one. At the same time, the breadth of the experiences represented, while hardly a cohesive or even complete picture, offered nuanced views of stories never heard in textbook discussions…

‘The Love Witch’ Looks Familiar but Feels Remarkably Fresh

The Love Witch

Yet behind the eye-catching homage to Technicolor cinematography, the retro-glamorous hair and makeup, and the stylized performances of the pitch-perfect cast [Anna Biller’s ‘The Love Witch’] is a sharp-eyed satire of how society views female sexuality as simultaneously desirable and dangerous. …It is a remarkable look at the way our modern world views and values women  —  a serious statement about sexual politics wrapped up in a cocoon of cats-eye liner and cake, making it all the more dangerously potent.

Teen Girls Coming of Age in ‘Clueless’ and ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

Clueless and The Edge of Seventeen

These two women directors, Amy Heckerling (‘Clueless’) and Kelly Fremon Craig (‘The Edge of Seventeen’), use their films to give a focused examination on the insecurity and self-doubt teen girls face. Cher and Nadine’s personal struggles, as well as their relationships with older mentors, reveal how patriarchal expectations shape their lives as they come of age.

Versions of Yourself: Nora Ephron as Women’s Storyteller

Sleepless in Seattle

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.

Flaws Make the Woman: In Praise of ‘Love’s Mickey Dobbs

Love TV series

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.

Why, as an Intersectional Feminist, I Can’t Get Behind the TV Land ‘Heathers’ Reboot

heathers-2

The television reboot will give marginalized people power that they don’t have in real life. As a result, they cast cis straight white people as the oppressed underclass. This misrepresentation of the real world will ultimately work to reinforce the fallacious idea that marginalized groups are “taking over” and gaining power over white, cis, straight, or otherwise privileged people. … I am not at all against a ‘Heathers’ reboot, but I want one that is progressive and intersectional, one that expands on the feminism of the original rather than scaling it back.

Does ‘Pitch Perfect’s Fat Amy Deserve to Be a Fat Positivity Mascot?

Pitch Perfect

It’s great to see a character whose fatness is a part of her identity without being a point of dehumanization, but the films try to make Fat Amy likable at the expense of other characters, positioning her as acceptably quirky, in contrast to the women of color, who are portrayed in a more two-dimensional manner, or Stacie, who is unacceptable due to her promiscuity. Ultimately, the underlying current of stereotype-based humor puts the film’s fat positivity in a dubious light…

‘Ghostbusters’: Yes, the Equations are Correct

Ghostbusters

As a woman in physics I have found that this experience encapsulates many of the issues of being a woman in a field dominated by men. I was very happy to see strong women on the screen and wanted to be a part of the effort… Ten years from now I hope to have an introductory physics course where I can’t count the women on one hand. I want the students to look at my framed thank you note from set dressing, ooh and ahh, and I will get to tell them that yes, those equations are right.

‘Lilo & Stitch,’ ‘Moana,’ and Disney’s Representation of Indigenous Peoples

'Lilo and Stitch' and 'Moana'

Looking at ‘Lilo & Stitch’ can provide a valuable lens in which to analyze the upcoming ‘Moana,’ as well as other mainstream films attempting to represent Indigenous cultures. … Regardless of its individual merits, ‘Lilo & Stitch’ is a moneymaking endeavor to benefit the Disney Company, which has not always had the best relationship (to say the least) with representing Indigenous cultures or respecting Indigenous peoples.

The Women of the New York Film Festival 2016

julietacover

The New York Film Festival (NYFF) wraps up this weekend. Here are the best of films about women or directed by women (or both) that still have NYFF weekend screenings (including some “encore” shows on Sunday) or are streaming or open today in theaters: including Ava DuVernay’s ’13th,’ Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Certain Women,’ and Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Julieta.’

Bi Erasure in Film and TV: The Difficulty of Representing Bisexual People On-Screen

How to Get Away with Murder

As frustrating as our erasure and stereotyping is, however, I’d like to go beyond the question of “good” and “bad” representations of bisexual characters to ask this: exactly what it is about bisexuality which makes it so hard to represent on-screen? And why, when bisexuality is visible, is it so likely to collapse back into dominant stereotypes of bisexuality as either promiscuous or merely a phase?

‘Jennifer’s Body’ and Bisexuality

Jennifer's Body

We don’t have direct evidence of how Jennifer or Needy would describe their sexual orientations, but ‘Jennifer’s Body’ works as a depiction of the relationship between two young bisexual women. If nothing else, it subverts expectations around gender and sexuality in horror films. … Even when Jennifer and Needy resort to physical violence with each other, their conflict has an erotic, and even romantic, subtext.