December 13, 2009
Women in the Seats but Not Behind the Camera
By MANOHLA DARGIS
Only three women have been nominated as directors by the academy in 81 years: Lina Wertmüller for “Seven Beauties” in 1976; Jane Campion for “The Piano” in 1993; and Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” in 2003. None won.
This isn’t just about money, or even male sexism. There have been women running studios on and off since 1980, when Sherry Lansing became the president of 20th Century Fox. But trickle-down equality doesn’t work in Hollywood, even when women are calling the shots and making the hires, as they presumably did a few years ago, when four out of the six big studios were run by women.
It’s hard to know why women have fared so badly in Hollywood in the last few decades, though any business that refers to its creations as product cannot, by definition, have much imagination. The vogue for comics and superheroes has generally forced women to sigh and squeal on the sidelines. Even the so-called independent sector, with its ostensibly different players and values, hasn’t been much better, as we know from all the female directors who have made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival only to disappear. New digital technologies and the Internet have leveled the field " though usually it seems as if it’s sheer grit that pushes filmmakers like Kelly Reichardt (“Wendy and Lucy”) along the hard road from idea to distribution.
In 1920 an American actress turned director named Ida May Park published an essay for a book titled “Careers for Women,” in which she warned other women about her chosen path. “Unless you are hardy and determined,” she wrote, “the director’s role is not for you. Wait until the profession has emerged from its embryonic state and a system has been evolved by which the terrific weight of responsibility can be lifted from one pair of shoulders. When that time comes I believe that women will find no finer calling.”
There are women who would agree with Park’s conclusions, or would if they could get the chance to direct. The problem is, 90 years later, women have advanced while much of the movie industry has not.
Who is your favorite female film director?
My favorite Sofia Coppola film is Lost in Translation.
I am not a fan of Hollywood, so dont get the wrong idea. I have been wanting to go to a movie for weeks, but nothing has looked remotely interesting to this 47 year old guy. I am aged out of the product line. I think movies would be better if women had more of a hand in making and green lighting them.
I will however see Avatar with my kids this week-end, .
watch the trailer:
Just keeping it real....the truth ain't pretty sometimes
There simply haven't been enough women directors who've been given the opportunities for a comment like yours to be "real", hawkeye. I can barely name 10 well known ones myself. (Can you?) And I don't think it's necessarily because they're lacking the talent to succeed.
Collectively, the big screen's leading men took home an estimated $487 million between June 1, 2007, and June 1, 2008, compared with the leading ladies' haul of $244.5 million