Women Directors Theme Week 2017
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.
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…
After chronicling the clashes among family, football, and adolescence in ‘Bend it Like Beckham,’ Gurinder Chadha delves into similar territory with the ebullient coming-of-age tale ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.’ An adaptation of the 1999 novel ‘Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging’ by the late Louise Rennison, the film tells the story of Georgia Nicolson, a teenager growing up in Eastbourne, England, whose entry into the world of romancing boys is as fraught and funny as you might expect.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enter The Girl, a mostly silent observer to the rotting underbelly of Bad City. She shares a kinship with the likes of Shane and The Man with No Name — a hero with mysterious origins and questionable morality who ultimately defends those who cannot help themselves. … Once The Girl arrives, it’s essentially Amirpour’s playground as she honors and subverts Westerns and horror films.
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
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.