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Thursday, March 23, 2023

When female filmmakers tell stories of their origins

The recently released Souvenir Part II and Bergman’s Island are films by contemporary masters who not only delve into the filmmaking process, but also draw on the personal lives of the directors themselves.

Sounds familiar? Self-reflective films like these almost double as copyright rites of passage – think “8 ½” Federico Fellini’s mesmerizing ode to the creative block with Marcello Mastroianni playing the director’s version; “Day after Night” – a chaotic comedy by Francois Truffaut about creative collaboration with Truffaut himself in the lead role in the director’s chair on camera; and more recently, Pain and Glory, a melodrama by Pedro Almodovar about the crisis of an aging director (Antonio Banderas). The list goes on, but in the latest films there is an important difference: the masters in the matter are women.

Joanna Hogg “Souvenir, Part 2” and Mia Hansen-Love’s Bergman Island revolve around two female filmmakers, avatars for filmmakers, manipulating their desires, relationships, and creative pursuits in ways that completely revitalize the self-referential genre. By highlighting the intellectual doubts and processes of two very different types of women, these films also raise subtle questions about gender inequality in the film business and the unique ways women artists express themselves. And, nicely, these films never indulge in obvious, self-praising cries of sexism – their magic is much more powerful and revealing.

Souvenir Part II is the sequel to Hogg’s 2019 drama about a quiet student filmmaker who finds himself in a tense and ultimately tragic romance with a charming drug addict. The new film is again based on Hogg’s early years attending the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, England. Still reeling from her lover’s death, Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) must recover. The requirements for completing her graduation film – a relationship drama based on her memories, that is, the events of the first film – prompts her to become a more self-confident person, transformed by the cathartic forces of creative work. In the end, the presentation of Julie’s finished film is also an immersion in her subconscious, a colorful fantasy similar to the insanely joyful finale of golden age movie musicals, and a brilliant shorthand of the marriage of art and life.

In a press release, Hogg said that even though she was “terribly withdrawn” in film school, she had “a very clear idea of ​​where I wanted to go, so I was able to drown out voices, usually male, who said“ you “. I can’t make a movie like that. “

Indeed, we see Julie grappling with skepticism from her own cast and crew, sharing their doubts about her directorial style behind her back or in her face in one particularly noisy brawl initiated by a rude male colleague. When speaking with academic advice, Julie must stand her ground in the face of dubious filmmaking veterans accustomed to certain harsh practices.

Hogg’s techniques are highly improvised – her scripts contain little dialogue and are instead filled with descriptions, references to specific memories and images that can encourage improvisation and a more organic kind of creativity.

Now 61 years and decades in his career, Hogg has room to experiment. While she doesn’t quite work on expensive and complex studio films, she enjoys privileges and leeway not usually given to female directors.

To this day, the word “author” is associated with the boys’ club. Consider how new films by male directors that nominate visionaries like Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, or Wes Anderson are treated as events. The cult of the male genius more appropriately extends to the kinds of money, time and space allotted for the prosperity of the so-called genius. Correcting the gender imbalance in the film industry is not just a matter of creating more opportunities for women (essentially meeting quotas), but believing in the unique vision of women artists and actively investing in cultivating that vision.

Hogg and Hansen-Love are far from the only female filmmakers going personal and exploring the emotional twists and turns of making a new film. There is often an autobiographical bias in the work of the provocateur Catherine Breuil. In her film Abuse of Weakness (2014), Isabelle Huppert played a director who suffered a stroke, like Breillat, and in Sex is a Comedy (2004), the director directed a behind-the-scenes drama leading up to filming. one of her most infamous sex scenes. In Cheryl Danier’s Watermelon Woman (1997), the director plays a video store worker struggling to make a documentary about a forgotten actress from the 1930s. The recent restoration and release of “Watermelon Woman” undoubtedly helped to pull out of obscurity the brilliant auto science fiction Danier. However, portraits of female directors are not well known and not particularly numerous.

The discrepancies between attitudes towards men and women filmmakers are shown in a magnifying glass on Bergman’s Island. Chris (Vicki Cripps) and Tony (Tim Roth), both directors, leave for the island where Ingmar Bergman has directed several of his films to focus independently on his new scripts. Mia Hansen-Love, who was in a 15-year relationship with director Olivier Assayas (Irma Vep, Personal Shopper), shows how Chris procrastinates and suffers from extreme writing block while Tony diligently fills out a page for page of your notebook. with materials of a sexual nature. Ah, be an artist! As Chris, riddled with self-doubt, spends time exploring the island on his own terms, the more famous Tony accepts public questions and answers from loyal fans. And when Chris finally shares the details of his latest movie idea, Tony seems distracted.

“It doesn’t matter,” Hansen-Love seems to be saying. If not Tony, then audience will be completely fascinated by Chris’s dream world. A film-in-film unfolds, a stifling romance between a young couple (Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lee), which also takes place on Faro Island and seems to reconfigure Chris’s frustrations and anxieties into a new, intuitive form.

Both Bergman’s Island and Souvenir Part II demonstrate a deep understanding of the liberating potential of art, the power that fiction and fantasy provide to people still seeking themselves. These are not exclusively female endeavors – anyone who understands what it means to be humiliated and look down on him will find comfort in the possibility of an alternative, an outlet for self-expression, which turns trauma, fear and insecurity into a source of self-realization and self-expression. force.

It is important to note that Julie and Chris do not show how they enjoy the success of their films, take revenge on male skeptics, or close multimillion-dollar deals. Their triumphs are personal as they are based on the satisfaction of creating something true and beautiful, despite their vulnerable creators – Chris falls asleep in Bergman’s office and wakes up in the future as her own filming draws to a close, her husband’s approval and a towering cinematic figure. so important to her artistic development, shimmered in the past. We are now on its territory.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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