It’s almost a cliché to write a thinkpiece about the lack of diversity in the latest set of Oscar nominations. Every year, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences congratulates the best films that English-speaking cis-het white men produced in the preceding year, and also some of the bad ones too. Oh, and they’ll also throw in a meagre handful of films made by women, people of color, etc. The slate of nominees for the upcoming 2020 Academy Awards is exceptionally representative of this feet-dragging approach to representation and inclusivity.
“Portrait Of A Lady On Fire” is a wonderfully subtle, minimalist film, one that trusts the audience’s ability to pick up on the slightest glance, the coyest smirk. It’s also worth nothing that the director is herself a queer woman, having known Haenel as a partner both professional and romantic, and reminding us that queer and trans folk should be taking the lead on LGBTQ+ cinema.
As we approach the end of 2019, the ITOL team are compiling their end of year lists of their favourite films. Here's James Cain's list and his personal top 20 films of 2019! Another year, another fresh bout of shame. I didn’t see “Hustlers”! I didn’t fit “Always Be My Maybe” onto my list of favourite movies! Anyway, here are my Top 20 Films of 2019.
If you're feeling disheartened by the latest Golden Globe nominations ignoring fantastic female filmmakers just take a look at the WFCC awards. Hopefully, you can find comfort in their celebration of women in film. The Women’s Film Critic Circle is a group of 75 female critics and scholars. It was established 15 years ago in the belief that women’s perspectives in criticism need to be fully recognised.
This is the female gaze like you’ve never seen it before. "Portrait"--a film set in Brittany, France in the 18th century--is a showcase of how the depths of insight and poignancy in a work of art comes as a result of the artist having a deep, loving, obsessive understanding of their subject. It is a film about two women on an island with hardly anyone else around them and the painfully, yet deliciously slow romance that materializes from a connection of their minds, bodies, and souls. The film is thematically rich and daring, yet never once seeks to shove a message or agenda down your throat; it’s a love story, plain and simple. Writer/director Céline Sciamma clearly isn’t interested in subverting history in an effort to appease the needs of a contemporary audience--yet in spite of that, this is a film brimming with human truths. It is reminiscent of the underpinnings and themes found Greek and Gothic literature and poetry. Tender, yet complex and multifaceted--this is in no way a political film, but rather, a subtle social commentary on the kinds of job opportunities available to women in the 18th century.