May 16, 2008

Women at the Box Office This Weekend

Desire, sex and sexuality across generations is on tap from two new female writer/directors this weekend. Georgina Garcia Reidel brings us the story of three generations of women exploring their desires in How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer. America Ferrera (pre- Ugly Betty) plays Blanca a young woman coming of age on summer break with nothing to do all day but sit around with her girlfriends; Elizabeth Pena plays Lolita, Blanca's divorced mom with a ton of pent-up sexual frustration; and Lucy Gallardo plays Dona Genoveva a 70-year-old woman who knows what she wants and goes after it surprising herself and her family.

The French film Water Lillies tells the coming of age story of three very different 15-year-old girls also on summer break with nothing to do except hang out at the pool. They live in the bizarre world of synchronized swimming, training like competitive swimmers, yet forced to look like little princesses. This film allows the girls to explore their own sexual desires, both heterosexually and homosexually, as an organic part of life in a way few films have before.

American films are not as bold as European films especially dealing with sex and sexuality and Water Lillies is another indication of how limited the American film landscape is when dealing with girls. The Garcia Girls was slow at times (and could have been cut by 30 minutes), but I was impressed that Garcia Reidel wasn't afraid using silence to get her point across. Sciamma let the girls bodies and desires lead the story and exhibits a strong and impressive directorial vision.

Both films have received accolades, Water Lillies was screened at Cannes last year, and How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer played at Sundance several years ago. Water Lillies opens today in LA and will be playing in different cities throughout the summer. DVD will be available in September.
Read my interview with Sciamma:

How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer opens in 11 cities today including LA, Chicago, SF, Dallas, Houston, Miami
More info:

Films Remaining in Theatres:
Then She Found Me - if you haven't seen this yet, this should be at the top if your list
Baby Mama
Nim's Island
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Under the Same Moon
Falling for Grace