Female Directors - tuesday 2012-11-27 0314 last modified 2012-12-05 0950
Categories: Film
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My film collection has shifted away from discs to digital. There's something about looking at them all in a folder that makes picking out gender gaps embarrassingly obvious. Of the twenty-five odd I have so far on a hard drive, maybe one or two of them would pass the Bechdel test, just one made to be female positive (Spirited Away). When women show up in the rest, if at all, it's ultimately as arm candy for the hero, eye candy for the male audience, or harpy antagonists. These stories have good things to say about justice, freedom, even love - but all from the male perspective. There's a historical and continuing imbalance in industry storytelling, to be sure - can you name three active female directors, not counting Kathryn Bigelow of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty? Any writers aside from Kristen Wiig of Bridesmaids? Cinematographers or composers? What was the last big film you watched that in some way focused on a female protagonist that didn't also revolve around romance? Women, how do you put up with such a dearth of fare? I mean, the Twilights of the world have their cotton candy place in some hearts, but nobody wants to subsist on junk food romance all the time. What do you make of the male-oriented offerings and the tangible paucity and seemingly dominating superficiality of female-oriented offerings?

Even with a burgeoning interest in achieving a greater balance in my own viewing and collection building, slow as that goes, there is a distinct numerical disadvantage to face. I ran across femaledirectors.com as a concentrated resource tied to Netflix, plus various lists by film lovers of where and whom to turn to. It's a sad byproduct of an artistic industry that historical profit margins dictate where all the resources go. One hopes the sheer ridiculousness of imbalance and a more vocal audience, in voice or, sadly, by spending patterns, might help to turn the lumbering behemoth in new and interesting directions. I wonder if they do better outside of Hollywood. Perhaps I'll get to see something at Sundance this year.

I've just wrapped up watching all of Akira Kurosawa, more on that later, and decided to move on to Zhang Yimou, with some hope that I can begin to understand some dialogue without English subtitle assistance, but next after that is a female director. Any recommendations?

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