It was disheartening to read that a butchered version of one of this year’s best films, "Booksmart", was shown on Delta’s aeroplanes. It was reported that “A version of the coming-of-age comedy that is being shown on Delta doesn't include a hookup scene between two teenage girls and eliminates references to female sexuality.” Thankfully, Delta has recognized the problem and is now making the film available in its entirety. This whole story must be discussed as it says some telling things about prejudices and biases that, sadly, are still present today.
Have you ever seen a film and found something just a bit distasteful about the way female actor came across but you couldn’t quite point to exactly why it didn’t sit right? And, maybe others have pointed out that the main female character have been treated very well because they ended up saving the day, so what are you complaining about?
There’s more to a film than the simply action that takes place and who is on screen. It’s a visual art form and we’re all trained in the visual language of cinema from the moment we start watching films. By ‘visual language’ we mean the way people are photographed in order to convey meaning beyond what they say or do. Someone shown in the frame as towering above another person is often the one with the power for example.
In the silent era of 1912 – 1919 there were more women working in the film industry than at any other time since. They were directors, writers, producers, editors and any profession was open to women. In that period Universal Studios alone created 170 films by female directors.
But with the widespread introduction of sound came huge investment into studios, equipment and cinemas. This was fast becoming an expensive and highly profitable industry and women were no longer so welcome. They have been struggling to make a dent in employment statistics ever since.
Amidst the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, it as become glaringly obvious how pervasive toxic masculinity, harassment, and abuse are in the film industry. With film and television as not just art forms, but avenues of escapism, how do we watch cinema more responsibly?
Following the scathing Weinstein report, MANY men in Hollywood – and some women – have been accused of sexual harassment and assault. This is not a new thing, but we are certainly not remaining as complacent as before. Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Bryan Singer, R. Kelly and so on are facing exile from the entertainment industry.
This Halloween will probably see many of us revisiting some classic horror films, and it's more than likely that one of those films will be "The Birds" (1963), a horror film from Hollywood's ultimate master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. And, while "The Birds" is an effective horror (a small coastal town becomes under attack from birds for no apparent reason), what is perhaps more horrific is the story behind the scenes regarding Hitchcock's abusive treatment towards the star of the film, Tippi Hedren.
What do Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman have in common besides creative genius and widespread popularity? They were either mentored or collaborated with an overlooked heroine of female representation in film, composer Shirley Walker. She is perhaps best known for creating the theme for the horror film series, “Final Destination” but achieved so much more. She truly deserves greater appreciation and recognition for her leadership as a woman in a field dominated by men as well as for her prolific body of work.
Walker was so gifted as a pianist that she played with the San Francisco Symphony while still a teenager. Not content to be just an accompanist, she branched out into conducting and composing. It cannot be stressed enough how radical and trailblazing her ambition was for a woman in the 1960’s. Even today, women conductors are rare and women composers equally, if not more so. Her first screen credit came when her skills with a keyboard landed her a job playing with Carmine Coppola in “Apocalypse Now” (1979).
As hard as it is to believe, Jodie Foster allegedly once said, "Acting, for me, is exhausting. I’m more energized by directing. It’s more intense to direct. I can pop in and express myself, then pop out again. It’s a huge passion for me." So why hasn’t she directed as much as she might have?
Regardless of whether you're a fan or not of Todd Phillips' "Joker", I think we can all agree that Hildur Guðnadóttir's score is phenomenal. A classically trained cellist from Iceland, she has played and recorded with various bands such as Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle, Múm, and Stórsveit Nix Noltes. She experiments with sound and musical instruments, using cello, warped samples, and nuclear reactor metal as her tools to compose her music. And, the end result is stunning.
Her music has a way of invading your mind, the score for "Joker" has a rawness to it, full of menace and a foreboding sense of dread. The score for "Joker" is so far from the epic orchestral scores we usually associate with comic book adaptations, and as she explained in an interview with Film Music Mag this was a deliberate decision, "we went as far in the other direction with this score as possible.
With a title like "Badass Beauty Queen" one would expect this to be the title of some fast-paced action flick set in the world of Beauty Pageants. However, it is actually the title of an incredibly inspirational and thought-provoking documentary about a young woman who took on an entire governmental regime. The Badass Beauty Queen that the documentary is named after is Miss Canada, Anastasia Lin who was set to represent the country at the Miss World Pageant in Sanya, China in 2015. Lin, who has been outspoken about China's appalling human-rights record, was declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Chinese authorities preventing her from gaining access to the country.