Posts

Thelma and Louise: The Most Powerful Final Image in Cinema

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  My essay can be found at The Film Magazine: https://www.thefilmagazine.com/thelma-louise-powerful-ending-film-essay/

Inspiring the next generation of feminists in Amy Poehler’s 'Moxie'.

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The film begins with a nightmare. Our 16-year-old protagonist, Vivian (Hadley Robinson) is running through the woods at night. There are rustles in the trees around her and an ominous sense of dread. She opens her mouth to scream, but no sound comes out. This is ultimately the central premise of the film: a young woman finding her voice, and ultimately a collective female voice, out of a silenced scream. Cut to present day, where the annual high school "rankings" have just been announced, categorising the girls into labels which include “best rack” and “most bangable”. Detestable football jock, Mitchell (Patrick Swarzenegger) personifies this day-to-day objectification that pervades the daily lives of the school’s young women. When he begins to bother new girl Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), Vivian tries to reassure her by telling her to just keep her head down, to which Lucy corrects her: “I’m gonna keep my head up... high." After being ranked “most obedient”, and disco

The Assistant exposes the chilling complicity of workplace culture

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TW: sexual abuse Director Kitty Green’s feature debut The Assistant follows a day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner), a young college graduate working for a film production company. But as we follow the mundanity of her chores, it becomes clear that something deeply sinister is going on behind closed doors. In this powerfully subtle #MeToo inspired drama, it is what is not seen which is the most sinister and affecting. We see Jane cleaning suspicious stains off the couch, finding women’s jewellery on her boss’s floor, disposing of syringes, and handling concerned phone calls from the boss’s wife. Under the heavy shadow of Weinstein, who was on trial for rape at the time of filming, The Assistant is a powerful commentary on the culture of complicity and silence in the entertainment industry. The director described her film as being “about systems and structures that essentially keep women out of power.” Whilst there is no direct reference to Weinstein

Director Celine Sciamma’s mesmerising love story is the ultimate celebration of women artists

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Celine Sciamma described her film Portrait of a Lady on Fire as “a manifesto on the female gaze.” Although now a popular buzzword, the expression has never been so powerfully epitomised than in this film. In the 1973 essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema , Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘male gaze’ to describe the patriarchal lens through which women in film are presented. Female-centric both in front of and behind the camera, Sciamma’s film is about female artists, by female artists, and celebrates the value of women’s work in a historically patriarchal medium. In 18th century France, young artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of a merchant’s daughter, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). In protest of her arranged marriage, Héloïse refused to pose for a previous painter, so Marianne must initially paint her in secret. After Marianne later comes clean that she was sent to paint Héloïse, the merchant’s daughter finally allows her, and Sciamma subverts

Scenes with Girls: The new London play rejecting heteronormative narratives and expectations

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Miriam Battye’s play Scenes with Girls focuses on two women in their twenties, whose conversations revolve around men and sex. However, while the opposite sex dominate the dialogue, the play is a powerful exploration of female friendship, and the rejection of heteronormative expectation. Best friends Tosh and Lou share the goal of rewriting the stereotypical female narrative, by rejecting social expectation of amorous love as the ‘happily ever after’. Lou pursues no strings-attached sexual encounters, whilst Tosh gives up intimacy with the opposite sex altogether. With the rigidness of a society which labels you either a ‘slut’ or ‘frigid’, neither approach is presented as either right or wrong, and the play interrogates the idea of there being a ‘right’ way to be a feminist. The play unconventionally skews the Bechdel test, by focusing on androcentric conversation, while ultimately prioritising platonic female love. The Bechdel test – which demands that a work of fiction feature at l

Judy and Punch severs the patriarchal strings of a troubling seaside tradition

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Described in Sight and Sound as “a feminist fairytale”, (which is as much of a description as I need to be sold), Judy and Punch is a powerful allegory for a world in which men have for so long pulled the strings. Director Mirrah Foulkes' translation of puppet show to live action is darkly witty and imaginative, as “Professor Punch” (Herriman) and Judy (Wasikowska) personify their wooden counterparts. The film cleverly appropriates the Punch and Judy show for the screen, right down to the satirically named town of ‘Seaside’, where the story is set (a 17th century village in which no beach balls are present). It is packed with meta elements, as the characters' lives imitate their art. We see the married couple perform their puppet show, before Judy is cruelly flung aside by her husband, in the same manner as her wooden equivalent. The show’s catchphrase "that's the way to do it!" is also darkly repeated by the human Punch, after brutally beating his actual wife. B