Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Diary of a Female Director

You know, a lot of people throw accusations at the Academy for not nominating enough women directors or people of colour or... or... yeah, you get the drill. I've always found it a curious sling to throw at the Oscars since they can only really work with what they're given by Hollywood. Oh sure, it's curious when they don't nominate Barbra Streisand for her own Best Picture nominee (The Prince of Tides if you don't remember, which lead to Billy Crystal singing "did it direct itself?"), but I suspect that was more about not nominating BARBRA STREISAND for a relatively milquetoast domestic drama rather than not nominating a woman director because she lacks a penis. I mean, you don't nominate Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties 1976 if you have something against female directors, do you? I don't know, I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, I just know that the lack of a women director presence at the Academy Awards is surely directly correlated to the lack of a woman director presence making films in general. Same goes for charges of racism against the Academy for not nominating enough actors of colour when it's hardly like Hollywood is casting them left, right and centre, you know?

Still, to be a fly on the wall of a female director's career could be interesting. Take Mary Harron for instance. She directed an acclaimed indie flick in the form of I Shot Andy Warhol, turned that into the zeitgeist cult (oxymoron, I know, but think about it) success of American Psycho - my third favourite film of the 2000s, just so you know where I'm coming from - and then... well, it gets complicated. Despite making a film of such undeniable craft and being responsible for thrusting Christian Bale into the world, her film career languished. I would be excited to see her name appear in the credits of TV series Six Feet Under, but it took five years to see another feature from Harron and that was the underwhelming, but still rather good, The Notorious Bettie Page. It's as if all the air was let out from her career for seemingly no apparent reason. The Bettie Page screenplay was co-written with Genevieve Turner, but I really do wonder if nobody in Hollywood gave her scripts to direct. Did she turn them down to make her own works? She proved with American Psycho that she could direct and unlike many films that get released today she knows where to place a camera and how to actually use it and integrate it with all the other parts of the moviemaking machine. So was she just not given the opportunity or did she not want it? I'd really like to know.

All of this brings me to the sad case of The Moth Diaries. Harron's latest film has been hovering about for a while now and I read a read last year that was not kind. With this newly released poster, I can't say I hold out hope for the film that looks like little more than a cheap knockoff for the Twilight set. They even use the Twilight font and the same cold steal blue look of the first film. It reminds me of those cheap ripoffs you see on the shelves at the local video store, like Paranormal Visions or whatever that use the exact same aesthetic and marketing as the films they are copying.

For her sake and mine, I hope she gets back on track soon.

1 comment:

Runs Like A Gay said...

I don't know if female directors are more discerning than their male counterparts, however they seem to wait longer between movies on average.

Where is Courtney Hunt's Frozen River follow-up or another Savages from Tamara Jenkins?

As for that poster - I don't really understand why the marketing team have gone for a Twilight esque design, especially given the limited release pattern.