So as luck would have it I found a job this spring working with a really cool video production company here in Fresno. Doing more research into the field, I’ve been astounding by how low the number of females in production is. Researching for this piece was even difficult- only about 9% of directors in Hollywood are women. That’s one Katheryn Bigelow for every nine Wes Andersons, Steven Spielbergs and Roman Polanksis.
Okay. I’m not even going go on explaining how frustrating this is. I suppose I just hope to see more girls in my generation take over the director’s chair but until we see more dynamic shifts happen in society and kick in that thick glass ceiling once and for all, I’m resigned to simply hoping.
Moving on, here are my top five female directors from all over our lovely cinematic world.
1. Rebecca Miller The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)
An American director and screenwriter, Miller is the thoughful type of filmmaker. Her movies aren't made for easy digestion, dumbed-down for the general masses. They carry significant controversies, as The Ballad of Jack and Rose did with it's notions towards incest between the intimate father-daughter relationship between Daniel-Day Lewis and Camilla Belle, unnerving the most hardened of movie lovers. Yet it's that provocative nature Miller doesn't shy away from that lands her films and screenplays as among the most talked-about in the industry.
2. Aparna Sen, The Japanese Wife. (2010) Aparna Sen's been involved in filmmaking since she was a young child, making her feature film debut as an actress at the age of 16 in a popular Indian movie, Teen Kanya in 1961. She took over the director's chair in 1981 with her first flick 36 Chowringhee Lane. Over the last 30 years Sen's films have won countless international film awards. Most recently, 2010's The Japanese Wife, which she adapted from UK-based Bengali author Kunal Basu's short story, has made headway into Western theaters. Yet it is not a movie made for impatient audiences. It is slowly-paced, relying heavily on the shy characters and their quiet atmospheres to evoke an emotional response rather than heavy drama or head-spinning editing. Set between the two worlds of Japan and India, The Japanese Wife is about a decades-long love story between two pen pals who marry, but never meet. It's a novel idea and the movie is a joy, well, no except for the end, but I'll refrain from spoiling too much.
3. Mira Nair, Monsoon Wedding (2001) Another fem director from India, Mira Nair's name is more widely-known that Aparna Sen's due to her work on large-scale Hollywood features like Vanity Fair (2004), Mississippi Masala (1991) and The Namesake (2006). I chose to feature Monsoon Wedding though because it was my first glimpse into Nair's work. It's a fun, colorful, comedic and touching story about a Punjabi family preparing to host their daughter's wedding and features a pretty fantastic ensemble.
4. Julie Taymor, Frida (2002) This movie is everything and Salma Hayek is everything and Taymor also directed Across The Universe (2007) which was everything and oh WATCH THIS CLIP because IT IS EVERYTHING.
5. Sally Potter, Yes (2004) Sally Potter began writing the script to Yes a day after the 9/11 attacks. The entire dialogue is done in iambic pentameter and features Simon Abkarian and Joan Allen who carry on an affair despite clashing cultures and personal prejudices. It's a gorgeous movie, slow and steady, that raises more questions than the characters in their witty back-and-forths. In placing the dialogue in iambic pentameter, Potter made an artistic choice that alienated a lot of critics and audiences, but hey...haters gonna hate. Potter handled it well and the movie holds up nearly a decade later when we have yet to answer any of the questions the film asked. Just take a look at this perfectly made scene between Abkarian, playing a Lebanese doctor-turned-chef in the UK discussing love and hate and racism and faith with his kitchenmates.
Earlier this year over a million people inexplicably excited for what seemed to be a "comeback release" of a certain Mickey Mouse/N*SYNC alumni and a producer who glory days left him in 2006. To no surprise, the hype(which Public Enemy founder Chuck D said not to believe years ago) created a "buzz" and this pseudo-soul got snatched up by loads of suburban-kids, as well as late twenties-early 30-year old moms who were able to use the remaining balance on their iTunes gift cards they received last Christmas.
Meanwhile, what would be more considered Soul music(like other genres that older generations embraced) over the last few years has been lying anything but doormat this year(or previous). For a short time this year I was even expecting to see Don Cornelius on my a flat screen passing by a sports bar, or James Brown coming out with Floyd Mayweather during his last bout, and maybe D'angelo in concert (which actually has happened so, 1/3 ain't all that bad). Needless to say, Soul seems to be in a good place, and just ‘cause your local radio programer can't do anything but allow the puppeteers that control him from above to pump more Macklemore, Bieber, and JT into your system. There is plenty of great music out there otherwise that doesn't require a "Suit" or "Tie" to enjoy.
Now here is a list of some current jams which I can groove to:
#Beautiful-Mariah Carey ft Miguel
Aside from the forced hashtag inclusion on the songs title, this is golden. I can't remember a duet I have enjoyed this much in long time. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell are smiling down from above on these two.
This is a grown folks contribution featuring a guy who I thought might be another fly-by-night sensation who somehow was able to sing about having sex on your birthday, and sneak it pass the radio police? Teaming-up w/ a up-and-coming electronic DJ Shlohmo, this one might help overpopulate our planet even moreso in this year.
Girls Love Beyonce-Drake ft James Fauntleroy
I'm not supposed to like a song that recycles another songs hook, which I never liked to begin with...but I do. This song is somewhere of both of Janet Jackson's more erotic Janet/VelvetRope 90's albums, and Jodeci moreso than Destiny's Child and that's what has allowed this to get repeated plays from this man.
Strictly Reserved for You-Charles Bradley
This album is great, and it's theme-titled lead single lends itself to that which is great as well. Classic soul for you to enjoy at anytime of day.
I think the youngins out there forgot that you don't have to go to a EDM festival to get your groove on. Mayer Hawthorne and Seattle producer Jake One(more known for his hip-hop work behind the boards) collab for something that I could have easily seen my parents and friends getting down on the dance floor to, but lends itself well to this era too.
I'm Selfish-Jamie Lidell
Once again, this is something that you can dance to. Phil Collins, or Earth Wind and Fire could have easily been titled as co-producers for this one. It's funky, has that 80's synth going on, and still captures the feel good spirits that Phil and EWF were able to capture when President Carter(no not Lil Wayne) or Reagan were still in office.
Blurred Lines-Robin Thicke ft T.I, and Pharrell
Yeah they jacked Marvin Gaye's Got to Give it Up, but they flipped it in the correct way and are able to capture the a lot of the fun of the original. A good one to get the party started with.
Q.U.E.E.N-Janelle Monae ft Erykah Badu
I like everything about this song. References to George Clinton, Marvin Gaye, Mary J .Blige and a cameo from Erykah Badu? What more do you want me to say about this that's not to like?
I read once that Hemingway, as a creative exercise, would limit himself to writing stories containing only six words.
I want you to try as well. Reply with your six-word stories. Channel your frustration at __insert world/society/community/individual__ into something creative. Don’t put too much thought into them, just write and see what comes out. Think of it as a haiku of sorts. More open-ended. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you.
- Angolan bride sells parents for dowry
- She leapt up bypassing the fire
- Not a war crime; a legacy.
- Woman as a nation. Now prisoner.
- Woman first roared. Man did cower.
- “Sorry I was bloated.” Taco Hell.