January 25, 2008

January 25, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies
Two new films are released this weekend.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Limited)
Since young women in the United States have no real clue what it is to live in a country without access to safe and legal abortions, I vote to make it required viewing for them as abortion rights continue to be a struggle in this country even 35 years after Roe v Wade.

This brutally realistic film takes places over 24 hours as a young woman and her best friend seek an abortion in 1987 at the end of the Ceausescu regime. Make no mistake, this is not a fun film to watch. It's dark and uncomfortable, yet that seems to be deliberate because the filmmaker Cristian Mungiu wants the viewer to feel what the women are going through. They are made to act like criminals in order to get the abortion which is performed by a black market abortionist who clearly has no feeling for these women except to exploit them in the most heinous ways possible.

This film has been lauded around the world with the Palme d'Or at Cannes and many of the year end critics prizes yet the Academy Awards nomination committee stupidly overlooked the film.

How She Move
Raya Green (Rutina Wesley) doesn't want to end up like her sister, dead at a young age from a drug overdose so she does the best she can with the help of her parents to get herself out of the projects and back into the private boarding school her family can do longer afford. In order to earn the money for the school she goes back to the world step dancing and joins an all-male team to win a national tournament. This is a young woman who does not fit into her world at all except on the dance floor where she is a star and as good as the guys (which makes many of the guys crazy) The dancing is really cool, but I think that people under 25 would like the film best. Film is written by Annmarie Morais.

Still in Theaters
The Business of Being Born
27 Dresses
Mad Money
P.S. I Love You
The Golden Compass
August Rush
The Orphanage
The Savages
Margot at the Wedding

Where are the Women Directors?
In honor of the Sundance Film Festival I talked to several female directors about their careers after they have had a film at Sundance.

Here's the beginning

It's that time of the year again when most of Hollywood and the New York film world decamp to cold Park City, Utah, to feast on the latest indie fare at the Sundance Film Festival. This year seems a pivotal moment for the film business, with the writer's strike three months old, a glut of films that can't get distribution and new technologies like on-demand downloads surfacing each day.

Yet one alarming issue that rarely makes it beyond the occasional newspaper story is the lack of women in films that were both artistically and commercially successful this past year. Such top Oscar contenders as There Will be Blood and No Country for Old Men barely have a female character, and in commercial hits like Spiderman 3 and the Transformers, women are relegated to the familiar role of girlfriend.

Women are also missing behind the scenes especially in one of the most important jobs in the film business, director. The most recent study by Martha Lauzen at San Diego State University shows that of the top 250 grossing films of 2007, only 6% were directed by women—down from 7% in 2006 and down from an all-time high of a whopping 11% in 2000.
Read More: Have You Seen a Woman Director Lately?