Posts Tagged ‘French New Wave’

Female Directors

September 15, 2011

Do you know who Jennifer Yuh Nelson is? Well, if you love animated films you should because she is the director of Kung Fu Panda 2. She recently hit a milestone where she became the highest grossing female director when Kung Fu Panda 2 grossed $645 Million. She beat Phyllida Lloyd, the director of Mamma Mia, whose film grossed $609 Million.

I’m very happy when anyone, male or female, is successful. Still, the milestone Yuh Nelson hit is extra special because Kung Fu Panda 2 is an animated film and not only are there not many female directors, there aren’t many females in animation period. So, kudos to her and may this encourage others to try their hand at either animation or film directing.

Of course, that got me thinking. (Here we go again.) Yuh Nelson and Lloyd aren’t the only female directors out there. There have been others who have made their mark behind the camera. Who are they? Well, gentle reader, read on to learn about some notable female directors.

Kathryn Bigelow
While winning the Oscar for The Hurt Locker put Bigelow on the movie making map, she directed other films such as Point Break and K-19: The Widowmaker. What they all have in common is they are very much guy flicks. The Hurt Locker deals with defusing bombs in the Iraq War. Point Break is an action film about an FBI agent infiltrating bank robbing gang. K-19: The Widowmaker is about a Soviet nuclear submarine that malfunctions and how the crew must work against the clock to save themselves from disaster. So, the stereotype of women directors making rom-coms or period pieces doesn’t fit Bigelow.

Sofia Coppola
Yes, she’s the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola. Still, her work stands on its own. With films such as The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette and Somewhere, I’ll go out on a limb and say she’s on her way to becoming the type of director that university film professors will lecture about and show films to their students 20 years from now, if they aren’t already doing it now. Trust me, that’s a good thing, since Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg spent their university days watching films of the French New Wave.

Amy Heckerling
What films did she direct? How about Fast Times at Ridgemont High, with Sean Penn (which was his breakout role), Johnny Dangerously with Michael Keaton (before he went through his dark stage with Batman) and National Lampoon’s European Vacation, with Chevy Chase. Those are some real sensitive films, aren’t they?

Madonna
Madonna!? You must be saying now. Yes, her. Believe it or not Madge directed two films. Filth and Wisdom and her latest opus W.E. which deals with the relationship between Wallis Simspon, American divorcee and Edward Windsor, aka King Edward VIII who left the throne for her. My guess is that being married to director Guy Ritchie must have rubbed off on her and she decided to try making a movie. Movie critics felt she should stick to singing. Still, I wouldn’t count Madonna out yet. After all, sometimes it takes a few tries to get something right.

Penny Marshall
Here’s another female director that doesn’t do period pieces. She directed Big with Tom Hanks, Awakenings with Robin Williams and A League of Their Own with Madonna. In case you are wondering, yes, she was Laverne in the ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley, which ran from 1976 to 1984.

Barbra Streisand
Yes, not only does she sing and act, but she also directs films, as well. Her first take at directing was with the film Yentl, in which she also starred in. wrote the screenplay and produced. She also did The Prince of Tides and The Mirror Has Two Faces. Okay, those two are chick flicks. Still, somebody has to please that demographic. Yet, Babs isn’t finished yet because, reports are that she will produce, direct and star in an adaptation of the Broadway play Gypsy. She is expected to play Momma Rose and she has experience with that since her own mother was something of a Backstage Mom.

Of course, there are more female directors, but I decided to focus on some notable ones who have been working since the 1980’s to the current time. So, I will end with Streisand and to all a good night or day, depending on what time of the day you are reading this.

Sources:
http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/archives/2011/09/07/jennifer_yuh_nelson_becomes_the_top_grossing_female_director/

http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Life/Entertainment/10-Surprising-Movies-Directed-by-Women.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0267626/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102685/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001508/#Director

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001068/#Director

http://answers.encyclopedia.com/question/did-barbra-streisand-direct-any-films-108003.html

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/01/05/barbra-streisand-to-produce-direct-and-star-in-movie-version-of-gypsy/

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111185918AAOUDtp

http://www.dose.ca/celebrity/5346132/story.html

Other Centers of Movie Making

September 22, 2010

Shocking but true, the United States is not the only place in the world where there is a thriving film industry. There are other places that are making movies and they all aren’t the art house favorites (though a good many take that route).  So, what other countries are making films?

India
The country of Gandhi and outsourced call centers is also famous for Bollywood movies.  Bollywood movies are mostly musicals with comedy, love story and thrills thrown in for good measure. In other words, the guy always gets the girl at the end of a Bollywood film. The term Bollywood comes from a combination of the city of Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and Hollywood. Recently the Bollywood style of movie making has made its way to the mainstream with films like Bride and Prejudice and the Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire. Both films found critical acclaim and box office success.

France
Films from France tend to be of the intellectual art house type and films like François Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player and Jean-Luc Godard Breathless are two shining examples. Those films were part of the French New Wave of the 1950’s and 1960’s, in which film conventions of Hollywood were re-imagined and the use of handheld cameras gave the films a “you are there” look. These films influenced a generation filmmakers throughout the world.

Italy
Italian films aren’t exactly intellectual. Instead they take familiar stories and tell them though the Italian cultural lens. They put their own spin on subjects such as mid-life crisis, coming of age and the Holocaust. Films that tackle these subjects are, respectively, Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso and Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful.

Australia
The Land Down Under has a vigorous film industry, ranging from the irreverent Young Einstein, to the genre mixing Mad Max, which introduced the world to Mel Gibson, to the current Bran Nu Dae. Australian films are a mix of reflection on the country’s agrarian past, commentary on current events and cultural mashup. Yet, it all seems to work. Good on ya’ mate.

So if you are in the mood for a foreign film, check out films from the countries listed above. You’ll either laugh, cry or wonder what is going on.

Sources:
http://www.bollywoodworld.com/whatisbollywood/

http://www.amazon.com/Bride-Prejudice-Martin-Henderson/dp/B00094AS9U/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284738812&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Slumdog-Millionaire-Dev-Patel/dp/B001P9KR8U/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284739458&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/8-1-2-Criterion-Collection/dp/B00005QAPH/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284742131&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Cinema-Paradiso-Version-Philippe-Noiret/dp/B00007G207/ref=sr_1_4?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284742359&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Beautiful-Roberto-Benigni/dp/B00004D0DU/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284742762&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Mad-Max-Special-Mel-Gibson/dp/B00005R2IS/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284744210&sr=1-1