Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where the Girls are

I have decided to make a greater effort to get some women filmmakers on here. There just aren't enough of them out there, and I think that most casual viewers would be hard-pressed to name even one. Even now only a handful come to mind...

Agnes Varda, Sofia Coppola, Mary Harron (American Psycho, etc), Leni Riefenstahl (Nazi propagandist), uh... the woman who directed Boys Don't Cry... and the one who directed The Savages last year...

There really aren't very many female directors who have been canonized. Part of the problem is that there aren't many females in the business of filmmaking to begin with. Why is this? Perhaps it is because the director is a high-powered position of control, something that still has a male association. Adding to the problem is the fact that the few women that are working in Hollywood are making such films as Something's Gotta Give and You've Got Mail. (This all sort of brings to mind George Eliot's famous treatise on frivolous women's writing in Victorian England, "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists.")

The male monopoly on creative activity is in the process of being overturned in every arena, but not film. I also wonder if this also has to do with the nature of film as an artform. Film is still highly collaborative, as well as expensive. It is still a business, and the in the business world, women remain at a disadvantage. Up until very recently, film was not something you could easily make on the fly. With the advent of digital and Youtube this is beginning to change. Maybe it won't be long before we see more women behind the camera. Until then, part of this little project of mine will be to explore the works of the fantastic few who have survived the boy's club.

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