When female filmmakers tell their origin stories

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When female filmmakers tell their origin stories

The recently released “The Souvenir Part II” and “Bergman Island” are both films of modern masters who not only delve into the filmmaking process, but also draw from the personal lives of the filmmakers themselves.

Know known? Self-reflective movies like this practically double as autistic rites of passage—think “8 “. Federico Fellini’s opening ode to the creative block is with Marcello Mastroianni playing a version of the filmmaker; “Night for Day,” the chaotic comedy about the artistic collaboration of François Truffaut, with Truffaut himself in the on-camera director’s chair; And, most recently, “Pain and Glory,” Pedro Almodovar’s melodrama is in jeopardy of an aging filmmaker (Antonio Banderas). The list goes on, but as with the latest films, there’s a key difference: The masters in question are women.

Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir Part II” And Mia Hansen-Love’s “Bergman Island” revolves around two female filmmakers who are avatars for directors, navigating their desires, relationships, and creative pursuits in a way that’s entirely self-referential style. revives it. While uncovering the intellectual doubts and processes of two different types of women, these films also raise subtle questions about gender inequality in the film business and the unique ways female actors come into their own. And refreshingly, these films never delve into the explicit, self-congratulatory screed about sexism—their magic is much more powerful and revelatory.

“The Souvenir Part II” is the follow-up to Hogg’s 2019 drama about a soft-spoken student filmmaker who falls into a frightening and ultimately tragic romance with a charming heroin addict. The new film re-enacts liberally from Hogg’s early years at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, England. Still dealing with the death of her boyfriend, Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) must reinvent herself. The demands to complete her thesis film – a relationship drama based on her memories, i.e. the events of the first film – lead her to become a more confident person, turned by the cathartic powers of creative work. In the end, Julie’s finished film rendition doubles as a plunge into her subconscious, a Technicolor fantasia that equates to the joyous ending of golden age film musicals and is a brilliant shorthand for the marriage of art and life.

In press notes, Hogg said that despite being “extremely introverted” in film school, she “had a pretty clear idea of ​​where I wanted to go, so I was able to blank out the voices, usually of men, saying that Was that ‘You can’t do such a film’.

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In fact, we see Julie struggle with skepticism from her own cast and crew, a particularly bummed male sharing her doubts about her directorial style behind her back or straight in her face. Started by partner. In conversation with an academic advisory committee, Julie must present her case to questionable filmmaking veterans accustomed to some harsh practices.

Hogg’s methods are highly improvised – his scripts contain very little dialogue and instead contain descriptions, references to particular memories and images that may encourage ad-libbing and more organic kind of construction.

Now 61, and decades into his career, Hogg has room to experiment. Although she is not exactly working on expensive and elaborate studio films, she enjoys privileges and discounts that are not usually given to female directors.

To this day the word “auteur” brings to mind a boy’s club. Consider how new films from male directors with visionary labels such as Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, or Wes Anderson are treated as events. The cult of male genius more pertinently extends to the money, time and space given to the flourishing of such so-called genius. Correcting the gender imbalance in the film industry is not just a matter of creating more opportunities for women – actually meeting quotas – but believing in the unique perspectives of female actors and investing strongly in cultivating those perspectives.

Hogg and Hansen-Love are hardly the only female filmmakers to personally explore the emotional twists and turns in getting a new film off the ground. The work of provocateur Katherine Breuillet often has autobiographical leanings. In her “Abuse of Weakness” (2014), Isabel Huppert starred as a filmmaker who experiences a stroke, as did Brelat, and in “Sex is Comedy” (2004), the director Leading to filming behind-the-scenes drama. One of her most infamous sex scenes. Cheryl Dunne’s “The Watermelon Woman” (1997) starred the director as a video store worker struggling to make a documentary about a forgotten 1930s actress. The recent restoration and release of “The Watermelon Woman” certainly helped pull Dunne’s simple autofiction out of obscurity. Yet the portraits of female filmmakers are not exactly famous or particularly numerous.

The discrepancies between the way male and female filmmakers are treated are put under a magnifying glass in “Bergman Island.” Chris (Vicky Cripps) and Tony (Tim Roth), both directors, move back to the island where Ingmar Bergman shot many of his films to focus independently on his new script. Mia Hansen-Love, who was in a 15-year relationship with filmmaker Olivier Assayas (“Irma Vape,” “Personal Shopper”), shows Chris suffering and suffering from extreme writer’s block, while Tony diligently looks through his notebook. Fills page after page with sexually questionable material. Ah, to be a writer! As Chris, plagued by self-doubt, wastes time exploring the island on his own terms, the more famous Tony hosts public Q&As and praises from devoted fans to the area. And when Chris finally shares the details of his latest idea for a movie, Tony is distraught.

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Never mind, Hansen-Love seems to say. If not Tony the audience Will be totally fascinated by Chris’s dream world. A film within a film unfolds, a hilarious romance between a young couple (Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielson Lai) that also takes place on the Faroe Islands and Chris’s frustrations and anxieties reimagined as new and visceral. configures.

“Bergman Island” and “The Souvenir Part II” both show an intimate understanding of the liberating potential of art, the power that imagination and imagination give to individuals still in search of themselves. These are not exclusively female ventures—anyone who understands what it means to be downplayed and looked down upon will find solace in the prospect of a choice, an outlet for self-expression that trumps trauma. And turns fear and insecurity into a source of fulfillment and strength.

Importantly, Julie and Chris are not shown rejoicing in the success of their films, taking revenge on their male skeptics, or landing multimillion-dollar deals. Their victories are personal, as they are based on the satisfaction of creating something true and beautiful despite their feeble creators – Chris falls asleep in Bergman’s study and wakes up in the future as the shooting of his own film draws to a close, her husband’s approval. And for her artistic development such a great cinematic figure is a twinkle in the past. We are in his territory now.

#female #filmmakers #origin #stories

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