February 1, 2008

February 1, 2008

At the Theatres This Weekend
Jessica Alba and Eva Longoria Parker star in two films opening this weekend. These openings give me a perfect chance to explain the types of movies that Women & Hollywood cares about people seeing vs. the movies we don't care about at all. I could give a crap about the Jessica and Eva's flicks. Not worth my time, or yours.

Caramel- directed by Nadine Labaki
What is worth your time is the film Caramel a love story to Beirut by the filmmaker Nadine Labaki. Labaki tells the story of five women trying to negotiate living modern lives in an environment where women are still not treated as full citizens. Labaki plays Layla the owner of the salon who being unmarried, still lives at home at 30, and is in the midst of humiliating affair with a married man. The other characters were all played by non-professionals so Labaki could get the real feel of Beirut which is known as Paris of the middle east. Nisrine (Yasmine Al Masri) is a Muslim young woman who undergoes a hymenoplasty so her husband to be won't find out she is not a virgin; Rima (Joanna Moukarzel) is a sexually confused young woman drawn to a customer; Jamale (Gisele Aovad) is struggling with growing older and Rose (Siham Haddad) is a seamstress who works across the street from the salon and spends her days sewing and taking care of her mentally ill older sister. Rose's story is the most heartbreaking because she meets someone and has a chance for love yet does not pursue it because of her obligations and her age. Seeing her wipe the makeup off her face when deciding not to go on her date is a beautiful moment from an acting and directing standpoint.

This is a small movie in Lebanese and French so make sure to you pay close attention, but it is worth the trip.
Here is an IndieWire profile of director Labaki. (I hope to have an interview with her next week) Film opens in 11 locations today.
Caramel Director Nadine Labaki

Another phenomenon to watch this weekend is the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert film which plays in theatres for one week in 683 venues. It is the biggest seller on Fandango and because of a lot of sell-outs it could do very well this weekend.

Remaining in Theatres
The Savages
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Untraceable - stars Diane Lane as an FBI agent (haven't seen it)
27 Dresses
Mad Money
How She Move
The Business of Being Born
P.S. I Love You
The Golden Compass
August Rush
The Orphanage

Celluloid Ceiling Study (update)
Dr. Martha Lauzen and her team at San Diego State have released the numbers of women working in the film business. Things suck. Women have just 15% of the jobs. Scary.
No Growth in Film Jobs for Women (Hollywood Reporter via Yahoo)

Film Feminist of the Day
More reasons to love Ellen Page. She played right-wing on two soccer teams in her native Halifax. While I am still in Julie Christie's camp for the best actress Oscar, Page is so smart in this interview with the Guardian that I faltered for a brief moment. The Juno juggernaut is on the offensive in England in advance of its impending release next week.

"I hate how box-office failures are blamed on an actress, yet I don't see a box-office failure blamed on men," she says. Such as? "Like when The Golden Compass came out. Daniel Craig was in it, and Nicole Kidman was in it, and people were just ragging on Nicole Kidman the whole time." She also bemoans the lack of meaty leading roles for women. "I think a lot of the time in films, men get roles where they create their own destiny and women are just tools, supporters for that," she says. "I guess it's because we live in a patriarchal society, where feminism is a dirty word."
Ellen are you reading Women & Hollywood? We said the same thing about the Golden Compass.
Page, naturally, is happy to be described as a feminist, and is gobsmacked to have recently discovered that "40% of women in America or less" consider themselves feminists. "If it's about equality for the sexes, then who wouldn't be?" she asks. It is no surprise coming from the woman who, musing on how gender roles are imposed on children by society, says: "As a girl, you're supposed to love Sleeping Beauty. I mean who wants to love Sleeping Beauty when you can be Aladdin?
I Don't Want to Sound Like a Piece of Poop, But... (The Guardian)

Crimes of the Heart Theatrical Revival
If you're anywhere near NY in February get thee to the Roundabout Theatre for the revival of Crimes of the Heart directed by Kathleen Turner. Show boasts a fantastic cast including Sarah Paulson (god I miss watching her of Studio 360). They spoke with NY Magazine this week.
Highlight quote:

Here you’ve got a female author, a female director—
K.T.: Almost all female designers—

Plus three female leads. This is quite the chick-power production.
K.T.: I’m a little worried… S.P.: When we all get our period! It hasn’t happened yet, but, boy. Everyone’s gonna sync up, and it’s gonna be a nightmare in here. K.T.: The other day, Beth, the playwright, started to write something in her script, and up to that point she hadn’t done anything but watch. And you should’ve seen the faces on the actors. S.P.: “She hates it, she hates it, she hates everything!”

Full piece: Heart-to-Heart

A wrap up on women at Sundance: "2008 was a great year both for films helmed by women and films about women at the Sundance film festival."
Women at Sundance (Alliance of Women Film Journalists)

"Celluloid Dreams will represent the director Irena Salina's Sundance '08 entry, "FLOW: For Love of Water" internationally. Additionally, it was announced that the film will be the first theatrical film to collaborate with the global environmental initiative 1% For The Planet for its eventual commercial release. 1% is a growing global movement of 782 companies worldwide who have committed to donate 1% of their profit to a network of more than 1,500 global environmental organizations." (IndieWire)

Persepolis was voted best film of young people (16-19) at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. (IndieWire)