April 18, 2008

Molly Haskell on Feminism and Film

Karina Longworth of Spot Blog (one of the very few interesting female film bloggers) participated in a critics discussion (how come I didn't get an invite?) at the Moving Image Institute last weekend. Here is her take on the conversation with legendary film critics Molly Haskell and Andrew Sarris. In my opinion, Haskell has written the best book on women, film and feminism: From Reverence to Rape. That book rocked my film loving self.

Here's a great line from Haskell, worthy of further conversation:

Although both Molly and Andrew were fans of Juno, Haskell says she’s “distressed” by the fact that conversations about women have, over the past twenty years, fallen out of mainstream film discourse. “Now it’s like Feminism is a dirty word,” she said. “I think Hollywood has just gone over to the adolescent male, in terms of both behind and in front of the camera. I think a lot of the violence in the world now is about the threat to male supremacy. And this leads to the Apatow thing…it’s a retreat.”
As someone who has tried to create a larger conversation about this Judd Apatow mania (who by the way was on the Daily Show this week and Jon Stewart completely regressed to his adolescent dick humor) there are few takers.

Longworth wrote:
Forgetting Sarah Marshall as smokescreen for a male regression fantasy knee-jerked into motion by endless war? It’s the exact sort of critical thinking about mainstream culture that isn’t happening on any kind of wide scale, much to our chagrin.
We need to have more conversations on why films have become so obsessed with these types of comedies. This summer there will be three or four Apatow films (he almost has his own genre) opening. Will it finally be too much? We can only hope.

Andrew Sarris & Molly Haskell