Drama

‘The Fits’ and the Complicated Choreography of Adolescence

The Fits

Director Anna Rose Holmer… described her film as portraying “adolescence as choreography.” I personally cannot think of a more apt way to describe the delicate movements one takes throughout the teenage years. One yearns to step into the spotlight and embrace one’s individuality while also fearing the consequences of doing so. It’s a delicate balancing act, wanting to be your own person while also wanting to fit in with everyone else.

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…

Courage, Death, and Love in Dorothy Arzner’s ‘Christopher Strong’

Christopher Strong

In spite of the ending or what the trailer suggests, ‘Christopher Strong’ doesn’t demonize Cynthia for her ambition and her desires; instead, the film sheds a sympathetic light on her story even as it depicts her pursuit of independence and love as an impossible one within the context of the world she occupies. The story of such a pursuit and the societal pressures attached likely felt familiar to director Dorothy Arzner, writer Zoë Akins, and star Katharine Hepburn — each of whom occupied positions of creative control in the film’s production and led successful careers in an industry still notorious for undervaluing women today.

Too Feminine, Too Pretty, and the Gendered Bias in the Critique of Sofia Coppola’s Films

Marie Antoinette

When it comes to the critique of Sofia Coppola, her filmic style is too often described along the lines of being too pretty, too feminine, or as style over substance. … Male directors, however, who exhibit the same attention to style and aesthetics, are not held to this same ideal. … There is a double standard in the way prettiness is regarded in cinema. “Pretty” is for female directors, but for male directors, prettiness isn’t ever uttered, and reverence is received in its place.

One Woman’s View: Martha Fiennes’ ‘Onegin’

Onegin

Director Martha Fiennes unlocks this costume classic for a modern audience, deftly allowing the two main characters to take their share of the center stage to tell their stories. While Ralph Fiennes’ Onegin plays a familiar type of romantic male, Liv Tyler’s Tatyana is not often familiar, even in modern love stories. She does not play the martyr, pining for someone she can’t have, but rather takes stock of what she needs in life and makes her choices accordingly, regardless of how others may feel.

The Future of Anime Is Female: ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’s Director Sayo Yamamoto

Yuri!!! On Ice

Thankfully, this hasn’t stopped animator/director Sayo Yamamoto from not only surviving over the past two decades — but thriving. And in style. Like Attack on Titan, Yamamoto’s ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’ has become a breakout hit, and amazingly, it’s only her third time as a series director. … Yamamoto’s success as a woman director shouldn’t be the exception to the rule in the anime industry.

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.

‘Queen of Katwe’ Is a Gorgeous, Inspiring Look at a Young Black Life Fully Realized

Queen of Katwe

But at its core lies a story of redemption, cultural pride, feminism, and economics — elements of a young life contending with extraordinary challenges. … ‘Queen of Katwe’ is a mesmerizing story of a life fully realized, a life that’s often overlooked and not given a chance. Its young cast, led by Nalwanga’s nuanced performance, help illuminate layers of humanity resting deep in the “slums” of Uganda, exhibiting talent well beyond their years.

Céline Sciamma’s Films (‘Girlhood,’ ‘Tomboy,’ and ‘Water Lilies’) Capture the Complexities of Adolescence

Girlhood film

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.

Andrea Arnold’s ‘American Honey’: A Young Woman Reclaims Her Life’s Trajectory

American Honey

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.

‘The Transfiguration’ Offers Insights into Vampirism and How Our Experiences Shape Us

transfiguration_thumb.jpg

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.

The Love That’s Really Real: ‘American Psycho’ as Romantic Comedy

American Psycho 4

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.