Author Topic: Female Filmmakers  (Read 19682 times)

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pete

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #90 on: February 17, 2009, 06:26:48 PM »
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is it also a white thing?
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Gamblour.

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #91 on: February 17, 2009, 06:39:18 PM »
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There is a black president, but how many black senators are there?

Not as many black directors as white directors, and I didn't like The Inside Man very much. I think we're onto something, guys!!
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Pas

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #92 on: February 17, 2009, 07:51:25 PM »
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oh please what intellectual dishonesty, now I'm a racist for saying that Barrack Obama is a black president.


ps : there are not more white directors than other races.

hedwig

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #93 on: February 17, 2009, 08:30:46 PM »
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here's a slightly different way of looking at it: i think it's a very feminine thing to make movies.. reconfiguring images/sound to communicate the unspeakable realities of human life. the most sublime moments in cinema go way beyond language. historically, the suppression of this creative visual impulse has been inextricably linked with the rise of patriarchy, misogyny, and language. surgeon leonard shlain has written extensively on this theory (see: The Alphabet vs. The Goddess).

when i read your post, SoNowThen, i could immediately see in my head how people would respond, both against and in support. the response was predictable because of how you phrased your statement. there are many interesting points to debate about the subject, but saying filmmaking is "a male thing" seems almost intentionally vague and oversimplified, as if you are baiting us to misinterpret you and react with "righteous indignation."

your point about the marshaling of troops attitude required to make a film is a bit more interesting. i see what you mean there. on the other hand, that's only one style of directing..

somebody go start a thread for feline filmmakers.

SoNowThen

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #94 on: February 17, 2009, 09:05:17 PM »
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Appreciate the above reply from Hedwig. And it is probably very true that "abstract creativity" as described above would be considered feminine. And yet I still feel that in general the making of cinema and literature favors the male mind. Maybe it can't be contained in a statement that simple, maybe it demands reams and reams of paper. But I doubt if I wrote reams and reams it would elicit anything beyond the typical self-satisfied, cowardly postings of pete or gamblour from two replies up.

I'll leave it rest with a few brief thoughts/examples from life:

1. I work with two women, one in her early twenties who does interpretive dance as a hobby and still auditions all the time cos she wants to also pursue it as a career, and a second in her late twenties who studied new media in college. Both are very idiosyncratic and fairly independent, and both enjoy "the arts" as far as I can tell. Last week they both separately said within my earshot, with no prompting, that they find women directors and authors mostly uninteresting and far prefer male authors and directors. That interested me so I asked a little bit and while their answers differed based on their personalities, it generally ran that, for them, the male mind pushed in more fascinating directions are far as these art forms were concerned -- no mention of lack of opportunity ever came up. I should also point out, in case you think that I was playing with a stacked deck, that these two women put no stock whatsoever in religion, or the having of babies (at least at this point in their lives), and both lean left politically.

2. Is the largest demographic that a movie studio worries about not teenage to early twenty-something males? If they are the group that predominantly spends hard earned cash and valuable time investing in the cinema does it not make sense that they would form the glut of those that go on to excel at it?

... finally, I forgot to mention before, and feel embarrassed at the omission of, Elaine May, Kira Muratova, and Larissa Shepitko. They are all solid. Though not as good as Cassavetes, Tarkovsky, or Klimov.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

Gamblour.

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #95 on: February 17, 2009, 09:43:25 PM »
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oh please what intellectual dishonesty, now I'm a racist for saying that Barrack Obama is a black president.


ps : there are not more white directors than other races.

No you're not. I wasn't trying to offend you or call you a name. My point had to do with the parallels of logic, and refuting the claim that because we have a black president in the US that every playing field is suddenly level.

SoNowThen, I don't know how calling a post pointing at the simple ignorant fallacy of these arguments "cowardly" can be anything but an attempt to drum up some sort of masculine vitriol, but in any case, I would prefer reams of insight to what you provide. In fact, I would kill for the vast insight these two women provided. Did they cite specific directors, or cases where they found this to be true? This is your evidence? You can generalize all you want, but you have to back it up somehow. Am I to counter your anecdote by finding two Republican women who adore Agnes Varda? Your anecdote is worthless to me. It's hardly any basis for an argument against women as a whole in an art.

Also, your second point is equally worthless. Male demographics? What "art-form" are you even talking about at this point?

Have you ever considered that men are good at the way films are run because men constructed the ways films are run? Have you looked into a feminist production model? I don't think one exists, but wouldn't it be interesting?

Is politics a man's arena? It requires gathering troops, if we're keeping the militaristic expression, and making sacrifices in one's life, by which we mean having kids and shit. Are women not equipped for this? And what exactly is this inferiority in literature you've kept referring to? Explain that.

There is no leaving this conversation. You're point of view has been around for as long as women have been artists, that they are somehow not as good as men in a field or an art. And guess what, you're point of view is just as ignorant today.
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md

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #96 on: February 18, 2009, 01:03:54 AM »
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From a statistics perspective, filmmaking -- specifically crewing -- is a male oriented craft.  That doesn't mean women can't be successful at it, but as a highly laborious craft, you could make the comparisons to the amount of women who are firefighters.  I bet there are few female fire marshals (in '08 the FDNY appointed its 4th female fire marshal) and it might be due to the lack of female fire fighters in general.  I believe the same argument holds true with filmmaking.





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SoNowThen

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #97 on: February 18, 2009, 01:12:45 AM »
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MD is talking more along the lines of what I am speaking of as well.

But anyone who uses the term "feminist production model" would not understand that line of thinking. Gam, I said I'd leave it and I've left it. I said my piece, the info is there if you want to read it. The two points were random thoughts that contributed to the subject, not be-all, end-all proofs. I thought that was pretty obvious. Sorry if it wasn't. Is it now that I've said it?
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

pete

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #98 on: February 18, 2009, 03:21:21 AM »
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you guys are full of shit.  "statistically speaking".  What statistics are you speaking of that suggests that girls can't crew?  what breakthrough in the history of the world have I missed that deems the douchebag ex-frat guy execs to be above every other industry out there?

now onto pas rap.
my favorite reply thus far is the shock that pas rap feigns when he's like "you're calling ME backwards?!"  People name their favorite male filmmakers elsewhere on this board (mostly white, imagine that!) but when people name their favorite female ones Pas Rap gets all like "well, a handful of female ones ain't gonna convince me".  And nobody was trying to convince you until that point, when you've become self-righteously obnoxious, which is xixax's favorite kind of poster.  The type where we don't even have to research the facts and challenge our intellects, but just trying to re-iterate shit that everyone in the world already knows in a condescending tone so you can maybe grasp it.  But you're not going to, because you're not basing your argument on any truth that you know, but instead, hubris and self-importance.  Women just aren't good enough to entertain you, or, they're "differently entertaining."  Everything you've said is stupid and offensive, but because you're educated and you like art films, you deem yourself to be above offense.  How could that be you who's uttering stupidity with your fingers on an internet forum?  It must be everybody else - the other people with similar or higher education who can't comprehend your folksy common sense, and those PC monsters who crave for the chance to attack your completely fair musings.  I like you as a poster and I like some of your posts, but that doesn't mean you're not stupid in some respects or you're above prejudice.  You're actually the opposite of above prejudice.  And this is coming from someone who respects you sometimes.
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md

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #99 on: February 18, 2009, 04:10:52 AM »
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the reason there aren't more women directors is probably because the female lead has to be the biggest star in the room. 
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matt35mm

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #100 on: February 18, 2009, 06:09:24 AM »
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Regarding what SoNowThen and I'm sure a lot of us have experienced, along with whatever statistics can be dug up, I can't deny that these are the cases.  But, I think, just because this is the way that you and I have experienced things (a larger number of more interesting male involvement in filmmaking and possibly film-watching), does not mean that it is the way things should be or can be.  So, with Pas Rap's point that if it's sunny only 20 days out of the year in Quebec then I can't really call it a sunny place, I would agree that we should look at the way things actually play out, and then consider whether this is okay, whether it's fair, and what the underlying reasons for this reality might be.  If my experience of women and their role in society was developed in the 1950s in America, I could say that it sure seemed like there were a lot more women involved in house-keeping and cooking and taking care of the children, but that doesn't mean that that is the way that things should be, or that women are inherently better built for these tasks.

What needs to be considered are the reasons why there are more men involved in film-directing than women (if one accepts that proposition to be true in the first place).  I think Hedwig's point about the dominant way of directing as only being one out of many ways and Gamblour's point about the current dominant filmmaking model are very important ones, probably especially because I find the current dominant filmmaking model to be very problematic and exclusive.  Additionally, little boys and little girls are still encouraged in different ways, and encouraged to be interested in different things.  Both of those points, when taken together, point to a societal problem wherein a life and personality direction is influenced heavily by a social pressure than still tends to push women and non-whites down.  For all of us, our life and personality direction is largely pre-determined by, oh, let's call it The System.  I do think that it is this, rather than inherent qualities of the male and female human, that creates a society in which women are generally less interested in pursuing various things (such as directing and perhaps often other roles that are perceived as requiring "leadership"), and less successful when they do decide to pursue it.

At this point, I think some serious study of Feminism would be useful, not only for its own sake, but because a lot of the "more interesting female directors" have likely thought about these very issues in a serious way, and perhaps there was an element of "liberation" involved before and during the making of these films.  Thinking about other filmmaking models, as well, would be enlightening at this point.  If we look at Kelly Reichardt, who works at a completely independent, small-scale level, she can largely side-step all the politics and pre-perceptions regarding women in filmmaking.  I think that she's frequently asked about being a female director, and I seem to remember her responses being along the lines of it's less of an issue in her experience because of the manner in which she makes her films, and that she doesn't want to make any "bigger" films.  Additionally, a less hierarchical approach to filmmaking (which, I should confess, is totally my kind of thing) is less problematic with regard to the aforementioned politics and pre-perceptions.  In my experience, a greater number of people on set thrive in this kind of environment, and it is pretty much the only kind of filmmaking I want to get involved with in the future.

And to respond to MD's last post, I won't say that that's necessarily untrue, but if it is true, then it sounds to me like it's rooted in a really disgusting mentality, and I hope that rather than shrugging it off as being just the way women are, we can think about why some women feel the need for that kind of attention, perhaps in relation to the kind of attention that men tend to seek out.  Are these desired forms of attention necessarily hard-wired, or could they be a manifestation of the different ways in which boys and girls are treated from day one?

Pas

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #101 on: February 18, 2009, 07:12:42 AM »
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you guys are full of shit.  "statistically speaking".  What statistics are you speaking of that suggests that girls can't crew?  what breakthrough in the history of the world have I missed that deems the douchebag ex-frat guy execs to be above every other industry out there?

now onto pas rap.
my favorite reply thus far is the shock that pas rap feigns when he's like "you're calling ME backwards?!"  People name their favorite male filmmakers elsewhere on this board (mostly white, imagine that!) but when people name their favorite female ones Pas Rap gets all like "well, a handful of female ones ain't gonna convince me".  And nobody was trying to convince you until that point, when you've become self-righteously obnoxious, which is xixax's favorite kind of poster.  The type where we don't even have to research the facts and challenge our intellects, but just trying to re-iterate shit that everyone in the world already knows in a condescending tone so you can maybe grasp it.  But you're not going to, because you're not basing your argument on any truth that you know, but instead, hubris and self-importance.  Women just aren't good enough to entertain you, or, they're "differently entertaining."  Everything you've said is stupid and offensive, but because you're educated and you like art films, you deem yourself to be above offense.  How could that be you who's uttering stupidity with your fingers on an internet forum?  It must be everybody else - the other people with similar or higher education who can't comprehend your folksy common sense, and those PC monsters who crave for the chance to attack your completely fair musings.  I like you as a poster and I like some of your posts, but that doesn't mean you're not stupid in some respects or you're above prejudice.  You're actually the opposite of above prejudice.  And this is coming from someone who respects you sometimes.

It's all good to say this and that is stupid and ignorant, but no one here has yet to show in what way women are not given equal chance. Your vision of the woman situation is dated. Of all young women I know, none claim to be a feminist. None claim to be underprivileged or not given opportunity. In fact, a lot even claim that the education system is giving a privilege to women (universities are filling up with women, one third of all men don't finish high school in Quebec, there was only one male doctor graduated in the whole class of 2007 in my hometown, etc)

Women excel at some things, men excel at others. There are exceptions. It might very well be folksy common sense but that's the way I see the world around me. Hope I sounded less self-righteous it is just that is seems clear in my head.

matt35mm

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #102 on: February 18, 2009, 07:21:08 AM »
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no one here has yet to show in what way women are not given equal chance. Your vision of the woman situation is dated. Of all young women I know, none claim to be a feminist.

Actually, I did attempt in my post before yours to show how women are not really given an equal chance, unless they more or less say "fuck it" to pre-established expectations of who they are and what they can do.  While I think we should all say "fuck it" to these pre-established expectations, it is still that case that men can get more out of simply going along with the system.

And while Feminism has been a dirty word for a while, it is making a comeback and being re-evaluated to be more specifically relevant for today, but the whole movement has always been relevant and important in general, and it is a movement that I will be happy to be a part of.

Pas

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #103 on: February 18, 2009, 07:29:24 AM »
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no one here has yet to show in what way women are not given equal chance. Your vision of the woman situation is dated. Of all young women I know, none claim to be a feminist.

Actually, I did attempt in my post before yours to show how women are not really given an equal chance, unless they more or less say "fuck it" to pre-established expectations of who they are and what they can do.  While I think we should all say "fuck it" to these pre-established expectations, it is still that case that men can get more out of simply going along with the system.

Well yes you say the system push them down and encouraged to do different things. Maybe it is different where I live, but here the girls have way better grades, there are more women in a lot of very hard/respected professions and there is a 50% male/female ratio elected in politics and given minister duties (since the late lates 80s). Yet there are not a lot of canadian women filmmakers. I cannot possibly blame society for not giving them ''the courage to believe'' or whatever

matt35mm

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Re: Female Filmmakers
« Reply #104 on: February 18, 2009, 09:43:04 AM »
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no one here has yet to show in what way women are not given equal chance. Your vision of the woman situation is dated. Of all young women I know, none claim to be a feminist.

Actually, I did attempt in my post before yours to show how women are not really given an equal chance, unless they more or less say "fuck it" to pre-established expectations of who they are and what they can do.  While I think we should all say "fuck it" to these pre-established expectations, it is still that case that men can get more out of simply going along with the system.

Well yes you say the system push them down and encouraged to do different things. Maybe it is different where I live, but here the girls have way better grades, there are more women in a lot of very hard/respected professions and there is a 50% male/female ratio elected in politics and given minister duties (since the late lates 80s). Yet there are not a lot of canadian women filmmakers. I cannot possibly blame society for not giving them ''the courage to believe'' or whatever

Well, to be honest, I see all that as somewhat part of the problem--the idea of grades and respected professions as the way to judge success and opportunity.  As I said, there are certain expectations and certain things that are accepted, and certain forms of attention that are desired, and these are all socially pre-determined things that, frankly, do more for the continued thriving of this system than it does for invidividual action and personal fulfillment.

Getting good grades and becoming a lawyer or politician is a very accepted and encouraged path.  Making and spending money is an encouraged act.  Buying a house is an encouraged act.  Everyone has a pretty good idea of what a successful and desirable life would look like, and it's a great way to get people to be happy for you and proud of you.  But it's pre-determined, narrow, and un-diverse.  To this extent, it can act like a trap for many people, with or without their knowing or feeling like it is a trap.  The actual diversity of potential action and life-paths simply don't enter the mind, because a small number of options come across as particularly worthy and realistic.

It is largely in this sense in which the opportunity is not equal anywhere, and saying that no one is stopping anyone in a country like Canada from going and making films, or even developing the interest in filmmaking in the first place, is not addressing the real problems.  And "the courage to believe" has got very little to do with this, because it's still the courage to believe within the narrow context of accepted and promoted behavior.

Additionally, in a very hierarchical system such as the dominant filmmaking model, women have to work harder than men to be accepted as having the leadership qualities (without coming across like a bitch) and vision that is considered necessary to be a director.  And again, at this point, I do not think that it's sufficient to say that men simply are more naturally able to lead or dominate, because the more one looks at the reasons why this might be (rather than just pointing to the way that things are), the more one sees a myriad of reasons for this that extend far beyond how we are hard-wired to be.

 

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