Women Directors and Their Films
Mary G. Hurd
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Although women may have found greater film success in the areas of screenwriting, editing, design, and producing, there have been many women whose contributions as directors have been quite significant. In this guide to their careers and films, author Mary Hurd profiles the most noteworthy―from Barbara Kopple and her classic work in the documentary form, to Nora Ephron's insightful retellings of Hollywood's classic stories, to Sophia Coppola's current success in Hollywood. Women Directors and Their Films fills an important gap in the literature on the subject, offering a combination of biographical material and film analysis that effectively summarizes and encapsulates the life's work of these very different, very talented women.
The selection includes women of the studio age (Ida Lupino, Dorothy Arzner), contemporary mainstream directors (Amy Heckerling, Nora Ephron), independents (Mary Harron, Nancy Savoca), documentarians (Barbara Kopple), experimental filmmakers (Maya Deren), and an assortment of acclaimed international filmmakers (Jane Campion, Agnes Varda). Profiles of the directors contain both biographical and critical segments. The first, biographical section provides a basic outline of the subject's life and career; the second offers a discussion of the director's films, featuring comments on the narrative, themes, visual techniques and style, and possible critical approaches to the work. Each chapter also includes a complete filmography and brief bibliography.
32 Jenkins, Patty: early life, 135; education, 133; directing, 135; Film: Monster, 135–136 Job, Enrico, 126 Joel, Billy, 91 Index Johannson, Scarlett, 132 Jones, Laura, 106 Jonze, Spike, 131 Just Another Girl on the IRT (1993), 136 Kadar, Jan, 66 Kael, Pauline, 4 Kahn, Madeline, 17 Kalin, Tom, 63 Katzenberg, Jeffrey, 48 Kavner, Julie, 16, 144 Keaton, Diane, 21, 95 Kefauver, Estes, 66 Keitel, Harvey, 108, 111 Kelly, Gene, 4 Kemp, Martin (Spandau Ballet), 77 Kerry, John, 84 Ketei Son, 118 Kidman,
Got Mail advances the possibility that two people could develop an intimate, loving relationship online, and yet pass on the street unaware of one another. The fantasy in this situation seems less fanciful than that in Sleepless, because the couple recognize themselves earlier in the film and, therefore, spend more time together on screen. Ephron again adheres to her rules regarding romantic comedy, specifically the absence of any sexual encounter between the principals, thus encouraging talk as
film], some part of them that’s never been touched before” (Dash 32). As a result, and despite the accuracy of her research, she moves away from “real” and “accurate” into the realm of the imaginative and the poetic, as the story just unravels through an evocative, dreamlike series of tableaux, underscoring the fact that the film is “about memory and reflection” (Dale and Cole 62). Dash was not interested in using the meticulous research she had amassed to make a documentary of the Gullah; she
provides emotional support for Suzanne when Jerome hangs himself. Suzanne and her children take refuge at her parents’ farm, where with great difficulty she acquires secretarial skills and eventually goes to work at a Family Planning Clinic. More outgoing and dynamic than Suzanne, Apple becomes a songwriter and singer who challenges various audiences as a spokesperson for the Female Condition. The two women, whose personalities lead them to separate contributions to the movement, correspond with
Florida in some of the exact places that Wuornos and the love of her life, lesbian Selby Wall (Christina Ricci), 136 Women Directors and Their Films had frequented, as well as quite possibly some of the same roads off the interstate that Wuornos had withdrawn with johns and murdered them. Jenkins’s goal was to humanize Wuornos but not sympathize with her. Realizing that sympathy for a character in film usually implies the character is innocent, Jenkins withstood numerous criticisms of her