Thursday 30 December 2010

Ólöf Arnalds & Björk - Surrender - NEW SONG

New Song By Bjork: Surrender.

Thank you Diego for this!

Happy New Year to all Mistresses out there!

Sunday 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

For all the witches, black cats and pumpkins out there!

PJ Harvey & John Parish: Black Hearted Love - from the album A Woman A Man Walked By (2009)

Monday 18 October 2010

Katharine Towers' poem "The Way We Go"

Read this on the underground today. I took it as a very much yearnt for gift from the Universe.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Lisa Cholodenko's new film (from The Guardian Film Review)

Interview with filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko - director of "High Art" - about her new film "The Kids are Alright", starring Juliet Moore and Annette Bening.

(For the full article and for more interviews with filmmakers Debra Granik, Nannette Burstein and Sanaa Hamri, please follow the link that is this post's title.)

Lisa Cholodenko: 'I wanted to make a film that was not sanctimonious or sentimental'

Photograph: c.Focus/Everett / Rex Features

For all that she was once a keen student of gender studies, film director Lisa Cholodenko isn't much of a one for hand-wringing. Ask her about Hollywood and she looks you hard in the face and tells it like it is. Yes, it's plastic. Yes, it's sexist. But what is a girl to do? Moaning will you get nowhere. Besides, the simple truth is that she just does not have any particular desire to make, say, a film about an alien invasion, featuring laser guns, copious gloop and plastic body suits.

"You know, I get asked why there aren't more female directors all the time," she says. "I'm kind of reluctant to talk about it. That's not because I think the question is irrelevant or stupid. It's just that there are so many mitigating factors. Here, the dollar is the final frontier and it's men who are typically attracted to the kind of material that brings in the masses: comic books, thrillers, special effects. Women tend to be more interested in character, in psychology. Are there women out there who are rabid to make those [more macho] kind of movies? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe they just can't get into the system. But that's not at all my sense of what's happening."

When, last March, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to pick up a best director Oscar – she won for her tense Iraq drama, The Hurt Locker – Cholodenko felt only mildly pleased. "It was cool," she recalls. "I mean, I'm glad it went to her and not to James Cameron [for Avatar]; if that had happened, it would have been too weird. But, on the other hand, it felt so long overdue, the announcement itself was almost… dusty. I liked Kathryn's film. I liked that it was quite macho. But I still think that it's lopsided, the value we give to things. Why should a film have to have all that stuff in it: the guns, the special effects? Why does a film like, say, Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola get called 'petite'?

"Of course, this whole Oscar thing is so political. It's about how much a film grosses, and who's in it, and how well it has been promoted. But still, the more salient point is: do we value highly enough the aesthetic to which women are attracted? We valued it in the 70s, when films like The Graduate, Five Easy Pieces and Coming Home got made. But now? I don't think that we do."

Cholodenko's new movie, The Kids Are All Right, was made for just $4.5m. Extremely funny and replete with deft and touching performances, it has so far made about $21m at the box office. The American critics loved it and there is already talk that Annette Bening will receive an Oscar nomination for her role. Cholodenko says she would be disappointed, now, if the film was not to be nominated in some category or another. But is she hoping it will be her ticket to working for a big studio? Not even remotely.

The Kids Are All Right is about what happens when two children who were conceived by artificial insemination decide to bring their donor father (Mark Ruffalo) into their lives, and the lives of their lesbian mothers (played by Bening and Julianne Moore), and it is probably fair to say that no studio would have looked at the script twice given its subject matter. Cholodenko believes she can only make the movies she wants to make in the independent sector, though even there it's hardly easy.

"Oh, it was super-painful to get it made," she says. "Even after Annette and Julianne were attached, when it came down to people wanting to write a cheque… well, there were a lot of conversations, but they just never committed."

If, by some miracle, a studio had been involved, it isn't too hard to work out how much tweaking there would have been to Cholodenko's script. A joke about oral sex between two women? No thanks. We have audiences in the midwest to consider. A scene in which two women get off on watching male gay porn? Ditto. As for the film's ending… suffice to say that The Kids Are All Right does not have a Hollywood ending, at least not in the heterosexual sense of the term; Cholodenko would doubtless have been asked to rewrite it. "I wanted to make a film that was not sentimental, sanctimonious or apologetic; so did Annette and Julianne. So that's what we did. It is a political film, in the sense that it's saying: this marriage is as messy and flawed and complicated as any other marriage. I couldn't have done that anywhere other than in the independent sector."

A studio might also have been tempted to mess with casting. Hollywood is nothing if not obsessed with youth, though, alas, this passion extends only to female cast members (positively ancient men still get to play opposite women young enough to be their daughters; Bening is 52 and Moore is 49).

"I was painstaking about casting. I thought, if this isn't spot on, it isn't going to work. When I was talking to my casting director [about a particular actor], I would say, has she had work? And if they told me 'maybe', I would say, in that case, no. I wanted the film to say this is what a 52-year-old woman looks like and she's still sexy. It took me so long to cast. I mean, I didn't want to cast Kate Winslet. Who would buy that she had an 18-year-old daughter? And I like Helen Mirren, but she's just so intent on being older and sexy…

"The problem is that most of them [Hollywood actresses] have had work and it's just horrible! There's no way you can say that they don't look different. They don't even look younger – they just look weird. They say, oh, my eyes are drooping. But is it really any better to have them so high to your forehead?"

The shooting of The Kids Are All Right took just 23 days and Bening and Moore spent very little of that in make-up. "When the film was finished, Annette watched it with her husband [Warren Beatty] and a few other people. I was, like, for fuck's sake! I hope she isn't pissed. I hope she doesn't say, I didn't know you were shooting me like that, or, how dare you show my arms? But she just loved it. Bravo to her. She is so cool."

Cholodenko and her co-writer, Stuart Blumberg, began working on their script in 2004. But the delay in getting the film made wasn't only to do with the laborious process of financing. In 2006, Cholodenko and her partner, Wendy Melvoin, had a baby by a sperm donor themselves and though the project had by then been given the green light, she put work on hold while she was pregnant. The film, then, deals with something that Cholodenko might one day have to cope with herself, though unlike Nic and Jules, the characters in her film, Cholodenko did not use an anonymous donor. I had worried that she would want to separate her life and the film quite decisively, but she is delightfully straightforward when it comes to it.

"I think the loss of anonymity for all donors eventually [in the US, as in the UK, children can now trace their fathers when they reach 18] is great," she says. "I'm all for openness. It's not important for the parents. But it is for the kid. In the US, you can choose [initial] anonymity or you can choose to have an open donor. I feel sad when I talk to moms who are, like, 'Ugh! I don't want anything to do with that person.' Really? Because I don't think your kid is going to feel that way. They will want to feel complete, that their life is OK. I have a massive dossier on my donor, he has committed to being available one day, and I know, too, that my kid has half siblings and it's all much less sad. It's a modern world out there!"

Friday 1 October 2010

Tori Amos: I Can't See New York

From here
no Lines are
From here
no lands
are owned
13,000 and Holding
in the purring
of her Engines
tracking the Beakon
"is there a Signal
on the other side"
on the other side?

what do you mean side of
what things?

and you said
and you did
and you said
you could find me
here and you said you would
find me even in Death
and you said
and you said
You'd find me

I can't see New York
as I'm circling down
through white cloud
falling out
I know his lips
are warm
but I can't seem
to find my way out
my way out

I can't see New York
as I'm circling Down
through white cloud
falling out
I know his
lips are warm
but I can't
seem to find
my way out
my way out
this Hunting ground

From here
crystal meth
metres of millions
the end
all we have,
soul blueprint.
did we get
lost in it
do we
conduct a
for this

"from the other
from the other
what do they mean side of
what things...

and you said
and you did
and you said
you would find me
here and you said that you would
find me even in Death
and you said
and you said
You'd find me

I can't see New York
as I'm circling down
through white cloud
falling out
I know his lips
are warm
but I can't seem
To find my way out
my way out

I can't see New York
as I'm circling down
through white cloud
falling out
I know your lips
are warm
but I can't seem
to find my way
my way out
of your hunting ground

you again
It's you again
I can't see
I can't see
New York
from the other side
from the other side

I Hum
from the
other side

Music and Lyrics by Tori Amos, from the album Scarlet's Walk (2002)

Lais Bodanzky (b. 1969)

Delicia de artigo com a cineasta brasileira Lais Bodanzky, diretora de 'O Bicho de Sete Cabecas', 'Chega de Saudade' e, mais recentemente, 'As Melhores Coisas do Mundo', que lotou cinemas no Brasil.

foto: O Estado de Sao Paulo

Aos 40 anos, Laís Bodanzky é um dos nomes mais respeitados do cinema nacional. Filha do cineasta Jorge Bodanzky, ela já rodou o Brasil para levar cinema a lugares esquecidos. Além de ter lançado Rodrigo Santoro em Bicho de Sete Cabeças e mergulhado no universo da terceira idade em Chega de Saudade, ela entra com tudo no mundo dos adolescentes com As Melhores Coisas do Mundo, que anda lotando sessões desde que estreou.

Laís gosta do silêncio, do subtexto, do que não é dito. “Me interessa o mundo interno, das emoções”, confirma a própria. Só que, hoje, aos 40 anos, comemora o fato de estar exausta de tanto falar nas últimas semanas. O assunto é um só: As Melhores Coisas do Mundo, seu novo longa (inspirado na série de livros Mano, do jornalista Gilberto Dimenstein), que revela a realidade de adolescentes da classe média paulistana e toca em temas como bullying, homossexualismo e preconceito.

Vencedor de oito prêmios no Cine PE Festival do Audiovisual deste ano, o filme, que custou R$ 6 milhões, foi visto, até o fechamento desta edição, por cerca de 250 mil pessoas. É também sucesso de crítica – sobretudo dos mais ferrenhos críticos de todos os tempos, os adolescentes. De posts em blogs a twitts ligeiros (como “cabei de ver As Melhores Coisas do Mundo sério... é a minha vida contada num filme... em TODOS os detalhes”), o triunfo do longa está na rede.

Eram esses adolescentes que, em uma quinta-feira à noite, lotavam a sala de um Cinemark paulistano. Assim que o filme começa, os espectadores comentam cenas, tomam partido e acompanham baixinho a música tema, “Something”, dos Beatles. Para descobrir que uma das bandas preferidas em sua juventude ainda é das mais ouvidas pelos garotos de hoje, Laís passou dois meses se encontrando com alunos de sete escolas particulares de São Paulo. Depois, assistiu em vídeo às 2.500 entrevistas com os jovens a fim de integrar o elenco. Por fim, testou 500 finalistas, escolhendo o estudante Francisco Miguez e Fiuk, filho de Fábio Jr., para protagonizarem a história.

Mundos paralelos

O hábito de disparar a falar, como fez Laís nas cinco horas de papo com a reportagem da Tpm na sala de seu apartamento, é recente. Quem conta é Luiz Bolognesi, marido dela há 15 anos, pai de suas meninas (Carolina, 7 anos, e Mariá, 5) e sócio na Buriti Filmes. Filha única do cineasta Jorge Bodanzky (diretor de Iracema, uma Transa Amazônica, censurado pela ditadura nos anos 70) com uma professora de história da arte, Laís cresceu brincando sozinha e acompanhando o pai em sets. Formou-se em cinema pela Faap, mas antes passou pelo CPT (Centro de Pesquisa Teatral) de Antunes Filho e cursou um semestre de geografia na USP. Aos 18 anos, começou a fazer vídeos de casamentos e palestras e, em seguida, filmes institucionais. Em 1994, lançou seu primeiro curta-metragem profissional, Cartão Vermelho.

Foi por causa desses vídeos institucionais, para os quais Luiz escrevia roteiros, que o casal se conheceu. Em 1995, Laís fez assistência para o curta Pedro e o Senhor, dirigido por ele, e os dois se casaram. Um ano depois, resolveram levar cinema para periferias da Grande São Paulo e, mais tarde, para o interior do Brasil, criando o Cine Mambembe. O projeto, que ganhou patrocinadores e mudou de nome para Cine Tela Brasil, hoje leva duas salas de cinema de verdade Brasil adentro – em 14 anos foram mais de 700 mil espectadores.

Mas o idealismo de Laís tem os pés no chão. A bagunça de seu escritório mistura uma pilha de livros, DVDs e roteiros que chegam às suas mãos. Ela não parece preocupada em ganhar muito dinheiro, fazer muito sucesso ou impressionar intelectuais. Prefere seguir no sossego de seu emocionante mundo interior.

Lais filmando, gravida de sete meses (foto arquivo pessoal)

Tpm. Você acaba de dirigir As Melhores Coisas do Mundo, e o Luiz (Bolognesi), seu marido, assina o roteiro. Vocês trabalham juntos e são casados há 15 anos. O fato de você ser mais reconhecida do que ele gera algum incômodo na relação?
Laís Bodanzky. Ah, dura pouco eu ser mais reconhecida, porque o Luiz fala bastante e muito bem, então, quando a gente vai a algum lugar, eu fico quieta e ele fala, fala, fala. E as pessoas babam. Não tem a questão da mulher com o marido. Mas tem uma coisa profissional que a gente traz pra casa que é a figura do diretor em relação ao roteirista. Os roteiristas, inclusive nos Estados Unidos, reivindicam também a autoria do filme. Mas a verdade é que, independente de eu aparecer mais na mídia, muitas vezes eu é que acabo cobrando do Luiz um reconhecimento da minha autoria.

As Melhores Coisas do Mundo é o terceiro longa-metragem de vocês. E, como nos anteriores (Bicho de Sete Cabeças, 2000, e Chega de Saudade, 2008), vocês mergulharam no universo do filme, no caso, dos adolescentes. De onde vem essa intensidade?
Já dirigi muito vídeo institucional para pagar o aluguel. E, uma vez, fazendo um filme para uma empresa de elevadores, ouvi dois técnicos conversando sobre Inferno na Torre [longa de John Guillermin, 1974]: “Você viu por que o elevador despencou naquela cena? As travas um e dois não funcionaram, e ele ficou preso pela trava três”. Pensei: “Cara, o especialista em elevadores acreditou que aquele elevador caiu”. E então, quando fiz o Bicho de Sete Cabeças, lembrava disso. Nos testes era desesperador, as pessoas berravam e se jogavam no chão. Eu falava: “A loucura não é isso. Ela é pra dentro, é silenciosa, sutil, é um olhar”. E então, depois de o filme pronto, uma enfermeira de hospital psiquiátrico falou: “Como você filmou num hospital funcionando?”. Achei o máximo, enganei uma especialista. Do mesmo jeito, uma frequentadora de salão de baile assistiu a Chega de Saudade e perguntou como liguei a câmera lá no meio sem ninguém reconhecer os atores. E agora, em As Melhores Coisas do Mundo, escutei adolescentes dizendo que nunca foram tão entendidos quanto por esse filme. O adolescente é meu especialista, é o ser mais “cri-cri” que existe.

O que você viu, nas pesquisas para o filme, sobre bullying, preconceito e homossexualismo entre os adolescentes?
Percebemos que, claro, tem uma diferença no homossexual de uma geração pra outra, mas não é uma aceitação. O homossexual que se declara é o extrovertido. Mas, se a pessoa não tem clareza, é classificada na escola e isso pode ter consequências graves. Ao mesmo tempo, tem um certo “oba-oba”, um modismo entre as meninas de se beijarem, um pouco para dizer: “Olha como sou liberada”. Mas não é uma consciência sexual. Por isso, quando aparece uma menina que seja mesmo diferente, a tendência é ser isolada. O bullying já existia na minha geração, mas ganhou outra ferramenta, a internet, e uma intensidade maior. Hoje o aluno que é isolado do grupo vira piada e pode mudar de colégio, até de cidade, que a informação sobre ele vaza. É um pesadelo kafkiano. E isso acontece na surdina, só os adolescentes percebem. Existe um medo geral entre eles de ser diferente, de ser vítima do bullying. Então, muitos falam de alguém antes que falem dele. Independente das mudanças tecnológicas, eu entendo tão bem o que eles estão dizendo... É um sentimento eterno, que vai pular de uma geração para outra.

Você acredita que por falar desses sentimentos universais é que seus filmes emocionam pessoas de idades variadas?
Minha praia são acontecimentos internos. Tanto que em As Melhores Coisas do Mundo só tem duas cenas de ação. Dou espaço para o silêncio cheio de informação. Por exemplo, a cena dos irmãos [vividos por Francisco Miguez e Fiuk] é, para mim, de uma intimidade que só é possível entre irmãos, com a intimidade de uma vida. Tem as dores do mundo que você vai dividir com aquele que acha que te entende mais. Quando a gente fez a pesquisa perguntava para os adolescentes: “Você tem alguém que admira?”. Muitos falaram: “Meu irmão”.

Você tem irmãos?
Tenho duas meias-irmãs, por parte de pai. Sou do primeiro casamento dele, e elas são do segundo. Nasceram no Rio de Janeiro, e eu sempre morei em São Paulo. Cresci filha única, sempre desejando ter um irmão. Quando a Alice nasceu eu já tinha 12 anos. Mesmo assim foi tanta alegria... Tenho duas filhas, observo, acho maravilhosa a relação entre irmãos.

Sua primeira filha foi planejada?
Sim. Eu queria engravidar quando a gente fez a viagem pelo interior do Brasil com o Cine Mambembe. Eu achava que já estava na hora de engravidar, mas não engravidei. Quando voltei, ia começar a filmar o Bicho de Sete Cabeças, e uma amiga falou: “Não engravide agora!”. Ela me convenceu de que não tinha nada a ver um set com uma mulher barriguda, que pode precisar de cuidados. O cinema não tem essa de “espera um pouquinho”. Aí me cuidei e, depois que lancei o Bicho, veio a Carolina.

E a Mariá, também foi planejada?
Foi. Mas não me imaginava mãe de meninas. Acho que porque nunca fui vaidosa. Essa coisa da unha [mostra as unhas curtas pintadas de verde] é novidade. Nunca fui a mãe que quer o cor-de-rosa, o frufru, achava que ia ter mais empatia com menino. Mas descobri que é uma delícia ser mãe de menina. Para mim, teve um lado também de me permitir ser mulher, comprar um batom, fazer uma maquiagem, coisa que eu não ligava.

Como é sua rotina e a do Luiz, trabalhando com cinema e pais de duas filhas pequenas?
A gente é muito presente. Almoço em casa todo dia, faço lição de casa junto. Ontem a Mariá ficou com febre, e eu passei o dia com ela. Desde que tivemos as filhas, resolvemos seguir a antroposofia [linha de medicina baseada em conceitos do pensador austríaco Rudolf Steiner]. E essa é uma escolha que exige muito da família porque você tem que ter um comportamento alinhado a todo o tratamento, que não é só quando a criança está doente. Tem que segurar uma barra porque os remédios antroposóficos não cortam nada imediatamente, não é simplesmente dar aquelas gotinhas. Então esse lado mãe ficou muito forte. Já nos momentos de filmagem – que não acontecem toda hora –, são dois meses que eu desapareço, e aí o Luiz dá o suporte. Mas elas sentem bastante, eu percebo.

Você sente a tão falada culpa da mulher que se divide entre profissão e filhos?
Me policio para não sentir, mas sinto. Ter filho é barra-pesada, no sentido de continuar sendo você mesma. Existe uma cobrança: “Como não vai dar conta de ser mãe e trabalhar? Dar à luz e fazer o supermercado, deixar a casa linda...?”. Por mais que eu tenha consciência de que é uma bobagem querer ser uma “supermulher”, na hora do vamos ver, acho que tenho que dar conta de tudo sim. Por causa disso neste momento estou exausta. Não cuido de mim, não faço ginástica, não arrumo meu escritório, não... me respeito. Tudo que é pra mim, penso: “Ah, deixa pra depois”. Sabe aquilo que falam, na hora do voo, que, se acontecer uma pane, primeiro coloque a máscara de oxigênio em você e depois na criança? Eu sempre pensava: “Por que não antes na criança?”. Depois é que percebi: se o adulto não está bem, como vai cuidar da criança? Eu ainda estou na busca de colocar a máscara primeiro em mim. Quando você quer dar conta de tudo, quer é não fazer feio para os outros. Acontece que às vezes faz feio para você mesma. Mas tem um lado engraçado: o meu banheiro não tem a tranca, então, cara, elas entram até no banheiro, e sem claquete [risos]. É divertido, um agito que não tive na infância.

E como é passar o dia falando de trabalho com o Luiz e à noite deitar com ele?
Quando vejo, estou fazendo reunião de trabalho na mesa da sala, à noite. Se estamos em casa, deveria ser um momento de desligar, mas esse momento nunca existe. Então vai criando uma panela de pressão. Pra você ter uma ideia, na época de Bicho de Sete Cabeças a gente mudou para o apartamento que era do meu avô. Como não tínhamos um escritório e o apartamento era grande, decidimos abrir a Buriti lá mesmo para produzir o filme. Aí acabou a filmagem, mas ainda tinha a Buriti, que continuou funcionando com o Cine Mambembe. As pessoas que trabalhavam com a gente tinham a chave. Até que teve um sábado, à meia-noite, em que estamos eu e o Luiz indo dormir, quando eu escuto um barulho na porta, alguém entrando. Era uma produtora: “Vim pegar uma coisa”. Lembrei que tinha que falar com ela e disse: “Vem cá”. Ela entrou e fizemos uma reunião: eu e o Luiz na cama, debaixo do lençol, conversando com ela sobre coisas do trabalho. Aí falamos: “Chega”. E montamos um escritório do lado.

Como surgiu a ideia do Cine Mambembe?
O Luiz e eu temos um encontro muito feliz de ideias que conseguimos tirar do papel. A gente tem um lado empreendedor, então falamos: “Vamos levar cinema para as periferias?”. Primeiro saímos pela Grande São Paulo: praça da Sé, Santo Amaro, São Miguel Paulista, Taboão da Serra... Depois, pelo interior do Brasil. Foi muito forte a experiência, só nós dois. Fizemos isso em 1997 e 1998. Agora o negócio cresceu e acabamos cuidando mais da burocracia, dos números. E foram criadas também as oficinas de vídeo e, mais recentemente, as oficinas virtuais -

Seus filmes agradam o grande público, mas também são considerados de qualidade, não apenas comerciais. Como atingir esse equilíbrio?
O Luiz, principalmente, tem uma experiência com o universo de comunicação empresarial. Isso deu a ele a capacidade de traduzir um raciocínio complexo para um operário, sem perder a classe, mas se fazendo entender. Da minha parte, eu não saberia fazer um filme cabeça, fechado, hermético, nas referências ou nas citações, porque eu não me considero uma teórica, uma cinéfila. O cinema que faço é como sou, mais ligada às emoções.

Do mesmo jeito que As Melhores Coisas do Mundo chegou às suas mãos como uma ideia pronta, chegam outros convites de direção?
Chegam. Na época do Bicho começou a chegar muito roteiro, mas só tragédias [risos]. E eu querendo engravidar, ficar leve. Mas nunca aceitei nenhum convite. As Melhores Coisas é o primeiro projeto que encarei, mas só porque era com o Fabiano e o Caio, da Gullane Filmes, que são meus amigos de faculdade, e porque a gente ia criar o roteiro do zero. Eu vou fazer poucos filmes na minha vida, sei disso. Tenho que ser muito sincera com minhas escolhas, porque todo mundo quer te seduzir.

O que te motiva a fazer cinema?
O desejo de tocar, comunicar uma pessoa. Ter a sensação de que deu tanto trabalho, mas no fim está tudo bem. Ontem uma amiga me disse que achou As Melhores Coisas parecido com meu primeiro curta, Cartão Vermelho, mas mais maduro. Achei legal reconhecer uma coerência no que faço há 20 anos.

Para re portagem na integra, visite o site da TPM (Trip para Mulheres), ou clique na link que e' o titulo deste post

Sunday 19 September 2010

Joan As Police Woman - Start Of My Heart

Can you breathe and listen to this song at the same time?

She makes me want to make music so bad.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Tuesday 14 September 2010


A film by Lynn Hershman Leeson.

About !WAR:

"For over forty years, Director Lynn Hershman Leeson has collected hundreds of hours of interviews with visionary artists, historians, curators and critics who shaped the beliefs and values of the Feminist Art Movement and reveal previously undocumented strategies used to politicize female artists and integrate women into art structures.

!Women Art Revolution elaborates the relationship of the Feminist Art Movement to the 1960s anti-war and civil rights movements and explains how historical events, such as the all-male protest exhibition against the invasion of Cambodia, sparked the first of many feminist actions against major cultural institutions. The film details major developments in women’s art of the 1970s, including the first feminist art education programs, political organizations and protests, alternative art spaces such as the A.I.R. Gallery and Franklin Furnace in New York and the Los Angeles Women’s Building, publications such as Chrysalis and Heresies, and landmark exhibitions, performances, and installations of public art that changed the entire direction of art.

New ways of thinking about the complexities of gender, race, class, and sexuality evolved. The Guerrilla Girls emerged as the conscience of the art world and held academic institutions, galleries, and museums accountable for discrimination practices. Over time, the tenacity and courage of these pioneering women artists resulted in what many historians now feel is the most significant art movement of the late 20th century.

Carrie Brownstein composed an original score to accompany the film. Laurie Anderson, Janis Joplin, Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip, Erase Errata and Tribe 8 are some of the gifted musicians who contributed to our soundtrack."

I say, "Bring it on!"

find out more on

About Lynn Hershman Leeson:

Over the last three decades, artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has been
internationally acclaimed for her pioneering use of new technologies and her
investigations of issues that are now recognized as key to the working of our society: identity in a time of consumerism, privacy in an era of surveillance, interfacing of humans and machines, and the relationship between real and virtual worlds.

In 2007 a retrospective at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, Autonomous Agents,
featured a comprehensive range– from the Roberta Breitmore series (1974-78) to
videos from the 1980s and interactive installations that use the Internet and artificial intelligence software. Her influential early ventures into performance and photographyare also featured in the current touring exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, organized by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Secret Agents Private I, The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson was
published by The University of California Press in 2005 on the occasion of
another retrospective at the Henry Gallery in Seattle. Her three feature films-
Strange Culture, Teknolust, Conceiving Ada- have been part of the Sundance Film Festival and The Berlin International Film Festival, among others, and have won numerous awards.

Work by Lynn Hershman Leeson is featured in the public collections of the
Museum of Modern Art, the William Lehmbruck Museum, the ZKM (Zentrum fur
Kunst und Medientechnologie), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the
National Gallery of Canada, the Walker Art Center and the University Art
Museum, Berkeley, in addition to the celebrated private collections of Donald
Hess and Arturo Schwarz, among many others. Commissions include projects for
the Tate Modern, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, De Young Museum, Daniel Langois and Stanford University, and Charles Schwab.

Recently honored with grants from Creative Capital and the National Endowment
for the Arts, she is also the recipient of a Siemens International Media Arts
Award, the Flintridge Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual
Arts, Prix Ars Electronica, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize. In
2004 Stanford University Libraries acquired Hershman Leeson’s working archive.

Hershman Leeson is Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis and an A.D. White Professor at Large at Cornell University.


Monday 13 September 2010

Female Playwright Finally Appears on Globe Stage

From Women & Hollywood by Mel Silverstein.

Female Playwright Finally Appears on Globe Stage

Sofia Coppola Wins Top Prize at Venice Film Festival

From Women & Hollywood by Mel Silverstein.

Sofia Coppola Wins Top Prize at Venice Film Festival

Pina Bausch / Cafe Muller / extract 1/5 / intro

Cafe Muller. (part I)

Choreographed by Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch / Cafe Muller / extract 2/5

Cafe Muller. (part II)

Choreographed by Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch / Cafe Muller / extract 3/5

Cafe Muller. (part III)

Choreographed by Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch / Cafe Muller / extract 4/5

Cafe Muller. (part IV)

Choreographed by Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch / Cafe Muller / extract 5/5 / final

Cafe Muller. (part V)

Choreographed by Pina Bausch.

Monday 6 September 2010

Kate Bush "The Sensual World" (1989)

Mmh, yes,

Then I'd taken the kiss of seedcake back from his mouth
Going deep South, go down, mmh, yes,
Took six big wheels and rolled our bodies
Off of Howth Head and into the flesh, mmh, yes,

He said I was a flower of the mountain, yes,
But now I've powers o'er a woman's body, yes.

Stepping out of the page into the sensual world.
Stepping out...

To where the water and the earth caress
And the down of a peach says mmh, yes,
Do I look for those millionaires
Like a Machiavellian girl would
When I could wear a sunset? mmh, yes,

And how we'd wished to live in the sensual world
You don't need words--just one kiss, then another.

Stepping out of the page into the sensual world
Stepping out, off the page, into the sensual world.

And then our arrows of desire rewrite the speech, mmh, yes,
And then he whispered would I, mmh, yes,
Be safe, mmh, yes, from mountain flowers?
And at first with the charm around him, mmh, yes,
He loosened it so if it slipped between my breasts
He'd rescue it, mmh, yes,
And his spark took life in my hand and, mmh, yes,
I said, mmh, yes,
But not yet, mmh, yes,
Mmh, yes.

Thursday 12 August 2010

E. B. Browning (Elizabeth Barrett) -(1806 - 1861)

Just recently discovered her poetry. Browning is considered of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era - having influenced and inspired both Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson.

For all you ladies out there. Here is Browning's "Mother and Poet".

Dead ! One of them shot by the sea in the east,
And one of them shot in the west by the sea.
Dead ! both my boys ! When you sit at the feast
And are wanting a great song for Italy free,
Let none look at me !

Yet I was a poetess only last year,
And good at my art, for a woman, men said ;
But this woman, this, who is agonized here,
— The east sea and west sea rhyme on in her head
For ever instead.

What art can a woman be good at ? Oh, vain !
What art is she good at, but hurting her breast
With the milk-teeth of babes, and a smile at the pain ?
Ah boys, how you hurt ! you were strong as you pressed,
And I proud, by that test.

What art's for a woman ? To hold on her knees
Both darlings ! to feel all their arms round her throat,
Cling, strangle a little ! to sew by degrees
And 'broider the long-clothes and neat little coat ;
To dream and to doat.

To teach them ... It stings there ! I made them indeed
Speak plain the word country. I taught them, no doubt,
That a country's a thing men should die for at need.
I prated of liberty, rights, and about
The tyrant cast out.

And when their eyes flashed ... O my beautiful eyes ! ...
I exulted ; nay, let them go forth at the wheels
Of the guns, and denied not. But then the surprise
When one sits quite alone ! Then one weeps, then one kneels !
God, how the house feels !

At first, happy news came, in gay letters moiled
With my kisses, — of camp-life and glory, and how
They both loved me ; and, soon coming home to be spoiled
In return would fan off every fly from my brow
With their green laurel-bough.

Then was triumph at Turin : Ancona was free !'
And some one came out of the cheers in the street,
With a face pale as stone, to say something to me.
My Guido was dead ! I fell down at his feet,
While they cheered in the street.

I bore it ; friends soothed me ; my grief looked sublime
As the ransom of Italy. One boy remained
To be leant on and walked with, recalling the time
When the first grew immortal, while both of us strained
To the height he had gained.

And letters still came, shorter, sadder, more strong,
Writ now but in one hand, I was not to faint, —
One loved me for two — would be with me ere long :
And Viva l' Italia ! — he died for, our saint,
Who forbids our complaint."

My Nanni would add, he was safe, and aware
Of a presence that turned off the balls, — was imprest
It was Guido himself, who knew what I could bear,
And how 'twas impossible, quite dispossessed,
To live on for the rest."

On which, without pause, up the telegraph line
Swept smoothly the next news from Gaeta : — Shot.
Tell his mother. Ah, ah, his, ' their ' mother, — not mine, '
No voice says "My mother" again to me. What !
You think Guido forgot ?

Are souls straight so happy that, dizzy with Heaven,
They drop earth's affections, conceive not of woe ?
I think not. Themselves were too lately forgiven
Through THAT Love and Sorrow which reconciled so
The Above and Below.

O Christ of the five wounds, who look'dst through the dark
To the face of Thy mother ! consider, I pray,
How we common mothers stand desolate, mark,
Whose sons, not being Christs, die with eyes turned away,
And no last word to say !

Both boys dead ? but that's out of nature. We all
Have been patriots, yet each house must always keep one.
'Twere imbecile, hewing out roads to a wall ;
And, when Italy 's made, for what end is it done
If we have not a son ?

Ah, ah, ah ! when Gaeta's taken, what then ?
When the fair wicked queen sits no more at her sport
Of the fire-balls of death crashing souls out of men ?
When the guns of Cavalli with final retort
Have cut the game short ?

When Venice and Rome keep their new jubilee,
When your flag takes all heaven for its white, green, and red,
When you have your country from mountain to sea,
When King Victor has Italy's crown on his head,
(And I have my Dead) —

What then ? Do not mock me. Ah, ring your bells low,
And burn your lights faintly ! My country is there,
Above the star pricked by the last peak of snow :
My Italy 's THERE, with my brave civic Pair,
To disfranchise despair !

Forgive me. Some women bear children in strength,
And bite back the cry of their pain in self-scorn ;
But the birth-pangs of nations will wring us at length
Into wail such as this — and we sit on forlorn
When the man-child is born.

Dead ! One of them shot by the sea in the east,
And one of them shot in the west by the sea.
Both ! both my boys ! If in keeping the feast
You want a great song for your Italy free,
Let none look at me !

Tuesday 10 August 2010


song: "Grande Grande Grande" (1972)

Get that bottle of wine, put your feet up and enjoy!

For more information on this unstoppable force of nature, got to

The Surreal House at the Barbican

"There was a door
There was a key
I opened the door and
the key wouldn't stop

I wrote the poem above after I have started re-re-re-reading the indispensable book by Clarissa Pinkola Estes- Women Who Run with the Wolves.

I first heard of the book back when I was teaching English in an independent school in Sao Paulo over 15 years ago. All the girls were talking about it - either reading it or intending to.

On my copy of the book, thanks to my semi-obsessive mania of writing on it and adding the date when I read it - I can tell how much this book has been through with me over the years. Also I can see how some lessons take years and years to be assimilated and learnt.

But the funny thing is that I got a text message today from a friend whom I have not seen in a long time telling me about a current exhibition at the Barbican, The Surreal House -showcasing the works of artists like Francesca Woodman and Rebecca Horn and the late Louise Bourgeois.

Rebecca Horn's Piano

Somehow, for me, this highly personal and probably generally irrelevant occurrance is connected to the news of the show.

Here's the link for the Barbican website and the exhibition:


I am delighted to share the news that Pedro Almodovar is currently working on a biopic about the Italian songstress Mina, due to be released in 2012.

I was introduced to her work by an Italian friend - Diego, you know it's your fault! And I have come to love her passionate and dramatic style.

Her song "La Voce del Silenzio" was key for the authentic characterization of longing of the character Estela in my first play, "The Sea at Night".

Mina has been a musical phenomenon for over 50 years. All I can do here is to share a taster of her talent.


Sunday 1 August 2010

Sandra Nettelbeck (b. 1966)

Read an interview with German film director Sandra Nettelbeck on the excellent "Women & Hollywood" blog by Melissa Silverstein.

In it Nettelback talks about her new film "Helen" which tells the story of a woman who seemingly has it all. But the reality is that Helen (played by the always charmingly beautiful Ashley Judd) struggles with severe depression.

To read the review of the film and the full interview, just click on the link that is this post's title!

Silverstein says: "Though it’s tough to watch Helen’s journey, the film is not depressing, in fact it’s a film about hope and shows all of us that it is possible to get better. It takes time, help, patience and love."

Friday 30 July 2010

Catherine Breillat (b. 1948)

Below is an extract of an interview with Breillat from the "Electric Sheep" magazine as published on the 16th of July 2010.

In the interview, the fearless French film director talks about her latest film, "Bluebeard", based on the eponymous nightmarish fairy tale by Charles Perrault which tells the story of a girl trapped as a bride of an extremelly violent man. For the full interview click on the link that is this post's title.

Although the film was one of the highlights on last year’s festival circuit, it has taken a while for Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard to get a UK theatrical release. Originally scripted and produced for French television, Bluebeard is a subtly suggestive retelling of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale about an ugly and extremely wealthy lord whose wives disappear under mysterious circumstances, until he falls for the much younger Marie-Catherine, who agrees to marry him in order to escape the shadow of her beautiful, talented older sister. What makes this understated, low-budget film a pure pleasure is the bold, teasing dialogue between the two sisters in the film’s framing plot, set in modern time, in which Catherine, the younger girl, thoroughly enjoys terrifying her older sister Anne by reading her the infamous tale from a book found in their attic. Playfully grim and increasingly disturbing, with a wonderfully cruel narrative that hints at the fiercely, sexually provocative spirit of Breillat’s previous work, Bluebeard slowly inveigles you before hitting you hard.

Pamela Jahn took part in a round table with Catherine Breillat at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere.

Q: Of all fairy tales, what is it that fascinated you so much about the story of Bluebeard?

Catherine Breillat: When I was a child this was my favourite fairy tale, but I was always astonished that this tale was actually told to little girls, because it’s a fairy tale in which women are killed – Bluebeard is a real serial killer. In fairy tales, you often find a protagonist who is an ogre, like in Little Red Riding Hood for instance, who feels the urge to eat the victims in order to feed himself. But in the case of Bluebeard, you are talking about a human being who marries his victims, including this young woman. But in a way, he is as innocent as Marie-Catherine.

If you look at my films, you will see that I am somewhat obsessed by the relationship between victims and their executioner, but as if the relationship was a rational thing in a physical sense, a relationship between two different forces that measure themselves. And therefore I’ve always wanted to make a movie about Bluebeard. I had decided to make it before I started shooting The Last Mistress. I went to Arte and told them that I wanted to make the movie in five months, and within three or four weeks I wrote the script and organised the shoot. But then I had my stroke and all of a sudden I got a little scared about making the film. But eventually, my desire to make it was stronger and I decided to go ahead with it.


The Mistress Bookshelf: Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood (2006) by Karen Ward Mahar

About "Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood" on The Johns Hopkins University Press (Publisher).

For more information on the book's author, Karen Ward Mahar click here.

Support independent bookshops! Buy the book here.

Friday 9 July 2010

Leaving (Partir, 2009) a Film by Catherine Orsini

Leaving, or Partir in its original French title (2009), is a film co-written and directed by Catherine Corsini starring Kristin Scott Thomas as Suzanne. We are introduced to her character in the film as if somewhere mid-sentence. The film starts half way through the characters' journey and this is up to the viewer to realize as the film progresses.

Is this a film about second chances? Is it about redemption? Without wishing to spoil anything on this gem and with the sole intent of urging you to watch it, I can honestly say Corsini releases the narrative and its characters from any premeditated cinematic cliche. Everyone seems bare, vulnerable even.

What's the danger lurking behind every decision or every word said or unsaid? The ever present sensation that something is about to combust, to explode is effortlessly played with grace and a certain darkness by the exuberant Thomas, who seems to play the character as if she has seen better days, as if the party is over. But you are led into this chapter of her life and therefore we are made to follow through her next crossing.

It is a mature effort, a film for film lovers, for an intelligent audience. An audience who does not wish to be underestimated or patronized by a regurgitated, colored-by-numbers plot. It casts a direct light on its characters, almost like a documentary - if it wasn't for the added drama, passion and quest for atonement. But what is revealed and how, really seems to be under the characters' control, until they can't control it no more.

Catherine Corsini's official website (in French).

Kristin Scott Thomas and Sergi Lopez in their quest for release on Leaving (2009)

Monday 3 May 2010

Lucrecia Martel (B. 1966)

Maria Onetto in The Headless Woman

The resurgence of Latin American Cinema became evident in the late 90s, early 2000. Until then LAC has been marred by decades of censorship, lack of funding, and overturn by Hollywood movies.

Nowadays the story is, both literally and figuratively, quite different. Not only has cinema been revitalised by an injection of funding and international interest, there’s also been the realization that women are powerful players in the industry, both in front and behind the cameras.

From this “new wave” of Latin American movies, one of the main figures in the past decade has been Lucretia Martel. Born in Argentina in 1966, Martel made home movies as a kid but never intended for this to be her profession. In 1988, Martel moved to Buenos Aires to study Communication, and there it was where she started making short films - one of her shorts entitled “The Dead King”, received various international awards.

Lucrecia Martel

During the late 1990s, Martel directed documentaries for TV as well as children’s programmes which were widely acclaimed by the Argentinean press for their dark sense of humour.

In 1999, she realised her first feature, Le Cienaga (2001), about two families living in the northern region of Argentina - where Martel is from - during one of the hottest summer in Argentinean history. The film received worldwide acclaim.

Martel has also written and directed The Holy Girl (2004) and The Headless Woman (2010) – both equally haunting and compelling movies. Martel’s work seems to explore not only human condition through the individual’s senses and desires, but also it questions the reliability of the visual medium as external evidence.

text by Luciana Saldanha

source: Reverse Shot (Reverse Shot is a quarterly, independently published film journal)

access an exclusive interview with Martel on:

Monday 8 March 2010

Still celebrating Bigelow's victory...

Kathryn Bigelow makes history as first woman to win best director Oscar

Iraq war film The Hurt Locker wins six awards including best picture and best original screenplay

Kathryn Bigelow (left) celebrates her best director Oscar with Barbra Streisand. Photograph: Matt Sayles/AP

Article by Matthew Weaver

Kathryn Bigelow today became the first woman in history to win the best director award at the Oscars.

Her low-budget Iraq war film, The Hurt Locker, about a bomb disposal team, was the big winner at the ceremony. It took six academy awards, including those for best picture and best original screenplay.

The Hurt Locker triumphed the over the 3D blockbuster Avatar, directed by Bigelow's former husband, James Cameron.

Cameron, who sat behind Bigelow at the ceremony in the Kodak theatre in Hollywood, was one of the first to offer congratulations when he reached over to tap her on the shoulder.

Bigelow described the award as a "moment of a lifetime" and dedicated her Oscar to the servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. "May they come home safe," she said.

The Hurt Locker is an apolitical film focusing on the heroism of bomb disposal experts. It was critically acclaimed but not a box office success and was attacked as unrealistic by bomb experts.

Bigelow was only the fourth woman to be nominated for best director in the 82-year history of the Oscars.

The previous female nominees were Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2003, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993, and Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties in 1975.

Barbra Streisand, the director of films including Yentl and The Prince of Tides, presented the award.

In interviews after the ceremony, Bigelow resisted reporters' attempts to encourage her to gloat about her victory over Cameron. "I think he is an extraordinary film-maker," she said.

Much of the build-up to the Oscars had focused on the rivalry between the former couple, who married in 1989 and divorced two years later.

It was the subject of jokes from the hosts of the ceremony, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

"She was so pleased to be nominated with him she sent him a beautiful gift basket – with a timer," Baldwin said.

Bigelow has for decades been a female pioneer in the male-dominated world of action movies.

Her previous films include Point Break, Strange Days and K-19: The Widowmaker. "I'm drawn to provocative characters," she told the Guardian in video interview last year.

At the Directors Guild of America Awards, where she also won the top honour, Bigelow said: "I suppose I like to think of myself as a film-maker", rather than as a female film-maker.

source: The Guardian

And The Winner Is...

Mo'Nique won an Academy Award for her outsdanding portrayal of an abusive mother in "Precious".

source: The Independent (Getty Images)

And The Winner Is...

Kathryn Bigelow and her historic Academy Award for Best Director for the film "The Hurt Locker", one of the six she won in Los Angeles last night.

source: The Independent (Getty Images)

Monday 1 March 2010

Lea Pool (b.1950)

source: Agence Goodwin.

Born on September 8, 1950 in Geneva, Switzerland, Léa Pool emigrated to Québec in 1975.

In 1978, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Communications at Université du Québec à Montréal. Since then, she has directed numerous videos, shorts films, films and television programs.
Léa Pool has pursued a unique cinematographic path. In 1978, she co- directed and edited Laurent Lamerre, portier and in 1979, she wrote, shot, produced and directed a one-hour fiction film, Strass Café, which won awards in four festivals, including Sceaux, in France, in 1981.

From 1980 to 1983, she directed ten programs on cultural minorities for Radio-Québec, and the following year, Eva en transit, a program on the French singer, Éva.
From 1978 to 1983, she gave cinema and video classes at Université du Québec à Montréal.

In 1984, she wrote and directed her first feature film, La Femme de l'hôtel, which was enthusiastically acclaimed by the critics and the public. It won seven awards, including the International Press Award at the World Film Festival, the award for best actress, Louise Marleau, at the Genie in Toronto, and the Public's Award for fiction at the Women's Film Festival in Créteil, France. She then wrote and directed Anne Trister, in 1986, the last volume in a trilogy on the complex issue of feminine identity. This film was invited to fifteen
international festivals, including the Berlin Festival (official competition) and won, amongst others, the People's Choice Award at the Women's Film Festival in Créteil (France), the Critic's Award at the Troia Festival in Portugal, and the Genie Award for best cinematography in Toronto.

À corps perdu, shot in 1988, an adaptation of Yves Navarre's novel Kurwenal, confirmed the importance of Léa Pool on the Canadian film scene. It garnered First Prize from Première magazine at the Festival of Namur and the Award of Excellence at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax; it was also chosen for official competition at the Venice Festival, the World Film Festival, and at the International Film Festival, in 1988. In 1990, Léa Pool shot her first documentary film, Hotel Chronicles, part of the series of the National Film Board of Canada, Talking about America. It won the Gold Medal in the documentary category, at Chicago’s 26th International Film Festival, and participated in numerous international festivals. In 1991,

Ms. Pool directed her fourth fiction film, La Demoiselle sauvage, co-written with Michel Langlois and Laurent Gagliardi, adapted from a short story by Corinna Bille. The film was presented in the official competition at the Montréal World Film Festival, where it won the Super Écran Award for best Canadian film and the award for best artistic contribution (photography). It also won the award for best direction at the French film festival in Saint-Martin, West Indies.

In 1992, she wrote Rispondetemi, one of the sketches of the movie Montréal vu par..., codirected by Patricia Rozema, Denys Arcand, Michel Brault, Atom Egoyan, and Jacques Leduc.

In 1992-1993, she wrote and directed her fifth fiction film, Mouvements du désir,
nominated in eight categories at the Genie Awards, including Achievement in Direction and Original Screenplay. It was also presented at the Sundance Film Festival in California, in 1994.

In October 1994, the Bloies Festival (France) presented a retrospective of the cinematographic work of Léa Pool, and the "Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France" awarded her the title of "Chevalier".

In 1994-1995, she directed two documentaries for a six episode bilingual television series titled Women: A True Story, on the emancipation of women, based on scenarios by Rina Fraticelli and Léa Pool, and hosted by Susan Sarandon. In 1996, she directed a short fiction film, Lettre à ma fille, for Le Musée de la civilisation (Québec).

In 1997-1998, she directed a documentary film on the life of one of Canada’s most important authors, Gabrielle Roy.

In 1998-1999, she co-wrote with Nancy Huston and directed her sixth feature film entitled Emporte-moi. This wildely acclaimed film was selected for the opening of Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois and won the Special Prize of the ecumenical jury of Berlin’s 49th International Film Festival.

Since 1989, she received many honors around the world, from Switzerland, France, Japan(Tokyo), Belgium, Sweden, Canada (Toronto), and in the United States from Denver, Berkeley, Princeton, Chicago, Boston, New York (at the Museum of Modern Art) and Seattle, to name a few.

In 1993, she received the Prix d'excellence Émergence from Université du Québec à Montréal.

In 2000, she directed Lost and Delirious, starring Piper Perabo, Jessica Paré, Mischa Barton and Graham Greene. It was a co-production between Québec and Ontario, written by Judith Thompson, based on the novel The Wives of Bath by Susan Swan.

In 2002, she directed the feature film The Blue Butterfly, starring William Hurt and
Pascale Bussière, a co-production between Québec and England, written by Peter McCormack, based on the life of George Brossard.

In 2004-2005, she gave acting workshops for UDA members and in 2004-2006, she teaches
film directing at Université du Québec à Montréal.

In 2006, she is honoured with three life achievement awards; the first from Université du Québec à Montréal (Prix Reconnaissance), the second from the Foundation of the Woman's Y(Prix Femmes de mérite) and the third from the Quebec government (Prix Albert-Tessier),

Quebec's most important award in recognition of her exceptional talent and contribution to the Quebec cinematography.
In 2007, Léa Pool wrote and directed for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) one of the series of documentaries entitled Hidden Lives, inspired by the stories of our neighbours and she will direct a feature film entitled Maman est chez le coiffeur, written by Isabelle Hébert and, in 2008-2009, she writes Une belle mort, an adaptation of Gil Courtemanche’s novel, coproduced by Quebec/Luxembourg.

Karyn Kusama (b. 1968)

This is the first part of an interview published on (to access the full text click on this post's title).

Interview: 'Jennifer's Body' Director Karyn Kusama (Part One)
by Todd Gilchrist - Sep 17th 2009

There's a sort of amazing nexus of visibility that Jennifer's Body is enjoying as it moves towards its opening day: men and women alike are obsessed with any- and everything Megan Fox does, and critics and audiences are curious to see how successfully Diablo Cody will follow-up her Oscar-winning script for Juno. Meanwhile, director Karyn Kusama bears the burden not only of shepherding the result of their efforts and the test for those expectations into theaters, but is in herself in search of a project that can both fulfill and overcome the preconceptions of viewers familiar with her two previous films, the acclaimed independent film Girlfight and the decidedly less-acclaimed studio opus Aeon Flux.

Cinematical recently sat down with Kusama for an epic conversation about her latest film, Jennifer's Body. In addition to discussing the project's origins and inspirations, she talked about tapping into expectations without acquiescing to them, examined the high-profile careers of her collaborators, and offered a few insights into her own creative process. (Check back tomorrow for part two, which further delves into her own feelings about the film's themes and her execution of its ideas.)

Cinematical: How did you process Diablo's writing style when you were directing and maybe even editing? Because she was kind of an unknown quantity when you started working on this but now she obviously has a style that polarizes audiences.

Karyn Kusama: I think Diablo was a part of seeing what the process had to be for the movie in terms of certain dialogue, even when it was really funny, really entertaining, we either had to cut entirely just – in studio terms – to get to the story faster, or there were moments when particularly certain elements of comedy, we had to sort of dial back a little because it upset the balance of what actors were doing emotionally. I think Diablo is really interesting because she writes with a very distinctive voice, but she's not particularly precious either, so she can know that something has been cut, but judge it again without even lines she really cherishes to sort of see how it operates on the whole. So I think she's pretty skilled at letting go of certain stuff, and then saying, 'this is important to me. I want to protect this.'

If anything, I think my director's cut is more authentically representational of the script and I'm proud that there's a director's cut that exists because it's a little bit closer to what both Diablo and I had imagined the finished movie would be. But that being said, I also think she often talks about, when she would see a cut and there would be something missing, she often writes in a very interesting, kind of rhythmic style – a joke that builds on a joke that builds on a joke, so it's sort of these trios of ideas. For her, it wasn't about losing any one part of the trio, it was about losing the shape of the trio itself, so she would often say, 'if I had to choose as the writer, I would rather lose everything than retain two parts of what should be a triangle.' So it was very interesting because she was more able to articulate a sort of formal understanding of her work than a lot of people are, and she was also really willing to articulate the most important thematic ideas, and kind of give up on the ephemera.

I feel like the issue of her voice being strong and people having a problem with it is very interesting to me because I think there are plenty of writers whose work generates that discussion. I have just never heard Quentin Tarantino or David Mamet or Shane Black be called a whore in people's blogs; I am shocked sometimes by the vitriol. It makes very little sense to me. [But] I think with Diablo it will be very interesting to see because I know she loves young people and she loves youth movies, so maybe she'll stick to that, but at a certain point it would be really interesting to get Diablo's take on grown-ups, because she herself is a really interesting grown-up. I think she's got a sh*tload of very real talent, and maybe it's not everybody's cup of tea, but what is?

Cinematical: Perhaps not dissimilarly, how did Megan's own visibility affect the production? I visited the set just a few days after those photos were leaked, and I'm not interested in asking about that, but how does something like that creatively affect the set, or change the way that you direct her to make her feel comfortable?

Kusama: It's incredibly damaging to a set when one of your lead actors feels like their privacy has been completely violated and betrayed. I think she felt understandably defensive and angry and self-protective, but the problem with an actor being self-protective on a set where they're supposed to be playing a character who at certain times can't be protecting anything of themselves, it just affects everyone's ability to work. So I was trying to make her feel as comfortable as I could and give her the space she needed while still making our day. So it was a little bit of a balancing act. But her visibility in a way comments back on the movie itself somehow, and in that regard, it's intellectually interesting to me. I would think to be Megan Fox right now would be hellish – to always be looked at, critiqued, commented on. She's in a no-win [situation]. That's the problem with being put on a pedestal – there's always going to be a lot of grubby hands trying to pull you down, and I think Megan is fascinating because as much as she is able to put herself in the spotlight, she really wants to be invisible, and it's going to be a tricky balance for her to strike personally and professionally.

Cinematical: What do you think are her emerging strengths that you think she brings to this film or to the films she's in?

Kusama: I can only speak to our experience together, and I remember really vividly when we talked about the sacrifice scene and she said as a very off-handed comment, 'a lot of young girls are going to see this movie, and it would be socially irresponsible for me to do anything but play it straight.' I thought that's a pretty sophisticated take, because so much of the script is so sort of hyper-real and theatrical and walking this sort of absurdist-comic tone that she could have easily looked at her dialogue in that scene and not played it straight. I thought I was gearing up for a conversation about moving her towards this sort of more realist depiction of that event, and here she had already gotten there on her own, and she didn't feel that there was any other way to do it. I just thought, that's her strength – she has innate intelligence, and a sense of respect for the character she's playing. In a funny way, of course shooting that scene was pretty difficult and kind of uncomfortable, and here the whole dynamic of the scene is that she is freaking out while everybody else is joking around her and treating her like a thing, and so I think one of her strengths is that she can go deeper than you think, particularly if you just ask for it.

I think she's really game to go deeper and try new things; I don't think she'll ever get to play the ugly girl, which maybe is in its own way limiting. I think you just have to accept that beauty is a natural component of her because she's actually naturally beautiful, and if anything the sort of glamour girl is another kind of mask for her and a way to hide, in my opinion, but I think she has the possibility of a very bright future. It's just, will celebrity eat her alive before she gets the chance to really create that body of work?

Kusama: It's incredibly damaging to a set when one of your lead actors feels like their privacy has been completely violated and betrayed. I think she felt understandably defensive and angry and self-protective, but the problem with an actor being self-protective on a set where they're supposed to be playing a character who at certain times can't be protecting anything of themselves, it just affects everyone's ability to work. So I was trying to make her feel as comfortable as I could and give her the space she needed while still making our day. So it was a little bit of a balancing act. But her visibility in a way comments back on the movie itself somehow, and in that regard, it's intellectually interesting to me. I would think to be Megan Fox right now would be hellish – to always be looked at, critiqued, commented on. She's in a no-win [situation]. That's the problem with being put on a pedestal – there's always going to be a lot of grubby hands trying to pull you down, and I think Megan is fascinating because as much as she is able to put herself in the spotlight, she really wants to be invisible, and it's going to be a tricky balance for her to strike personally and professionally.

Cinematical: What do you think are her emerging strengths that you think she brings to this film or to the films she's in?

Kusama: I can only speak to our experience together, and I remember really vividly when we talked about the sacrifice scene and she said as a very off-handed comment, 'a lot of young girls are going to see this movie, and it would be socially irresponsible for me to do anything but play it straight.' I thought that's a pretty sophisticated take, because so much of the script is so sort of hyper-real and theatrical and walking this sort of absurdist-comic tone that she could have easily looked at her dialogue in that scene and not played it straight. I thought I was gearing up for a conversation about moving her towards this sort of more realist depiction of that event, and here she had already gotten there on her own, and she didn't feel that there was any other way to do it. I just thought, that's her strength – she has innate intelligence, and a sense of respect for the character she's playing. In a funny way, of course shooting that scene was pretty difficult and kind of uncomfortable, and here the whole dynamic of the scene is that she is freaking out while everybody else is joking around her and treating her like a thing, and so I think one of her strengths is that she can go deeper than you think, particularly if you just ask for it.

I think she's really game to go deeper and try new things; I don't think she'll ever get to play the ugly girl, which maybe is in its own way limiting. I think you just have to accept that beauty is a natural component of her because she's actually naturally beautiful, and if anything the sort of glamour girl is another kind of mask for her and a way to hide, in my opinion, but I think she has the possibility of a very bright future. It's just, will celebrity eat her alive before she gets the chance to really create that body of work?

Ava DuVernay (b. 1972)

source: LA Sentinel, March 2009 (click on the post's title to access the original text)

Ava DuVernay has worked in the world of film as a marketer and a publicist for more than 14 years, forming The DuVernay Agency in 1999. Her award-winning firm has provided strategy and execution for more than 80 film and television campaigns for acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Condon, Raoul Peck, Gurinder Chadha and Reggie & Gina Bythewood. Here, the brainy and beautiful businesswoman-turned-filmmaker discusses her directorial debut, “This is the Life,” which offers a rare insider’s view of the underground urban music movement in Los Angeles. Already the winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle, this riveting documentary about the roots of rap has just been released theatrically by Forward Movement and is set to debut on Showtime in April.

Sentinel: Hi Ava, thanks for the time.

AD: No, thank you, Kam. I’m a big fan.

Sentinel: Congratulations on your directorial debut! How was the premiere party at The House of Blues?

AD: It was unbelievable and unforgettable… Truly a remarkable night... To have all these amazing artists reunite in celebration of our documentary was a dream come true.

Sentinel: What interested you in making This Is the Life?

AD: Well, I was a part of The Good Life movement as a young artist. Eventually, I went on to handle publicity for studios and networks, to work all over the world, execute huge premieres and red carpet events, but in all that time, I never experienced anything as creatively pure as I had at The Good Life. When it was time to make my first doc, I knew it had to be about that very special place.

Sentinel: What prior experience did you have with directing?

AD: I’ve directed two shorts previously, a short narrative and a short doc. My short narrative, “Saturday Night Life,” starred Melissa De Sousa of “The Best Man.” It toured the festival circuit and eventually was selected for the Showtime Network’s Black Filmmaker Showcase, and aired in February, 2007.

Sentinel: How did you prepare to shoot this movie?

AD: The most extensive preparation was in connecting with and relaying my vision of the story to all the participants. This film is the true story of many people’s lives, so beyond the obvious technical preparation, it was the personal connection and building of trust that was at the forefront for me throughout the process.

Sentinel: How was it seeing old friends over the course of the shooting? Had you kept in touch with most of them?

AD: It was wonderful to not only see all the old friends, but to have the opportunity to sit down and have long conversations, really delve into the memories. It was a beautiful time for me personally.

Sentinel: You were once an aspiring rapper? How would you describe your style?

AD: I don’t know if I was ever an aspiring rapper, as in aspiring to have a record deal and be a rap star. I liked to express myself through rhyme and to practice lyrical patterns that were unusual. I liked to hang with my friends who were all rhyming. I liked being a part of The Good Life family. At the time, I was doing what I loved, and not really thinking much beyond that – in terms of commercial viability or aspirations.

Sentinel: Were you disappointed when you didn’t make it as a rapper? How did you feel when Eve exploded with your rap nickname?

AD: No, not at all. I never pursued it like that. I was a student at UCLA and was just a local young woman enjoying the hip hop scene. It was never really meant to be more than that.

Sentinel: What famous rappers would you say were influenced by performers in This Is the Life?

AD: In the film, we explore the connections between several emcees of note and their Good Life counterparts. Particularly, Ice Cube and Bones Thugs & Harmony. We lay it all out for the viewer to judge the influences for themselves.

Sentinel: Do you still get up on stage anywhere on open mic night?

AD: No, I’m no longer performing.

Sentinel: Then, where can folks go to hear a sample of your rapping?

AD: Nowhere! The evidence is long gone. [Laughs]

Sentinel: Which do you enjoy more, rapping, directing or being a publicist?

AD: Oh wow! What an interesting question. I’m proud to say that I am someone who very much tries to remain in the moment. At each of those moments – as an emcee, as a publicist and now as a director – I am completely immersed, completely present, completely enjoying it. I can’t say I love one over another because as I was doing each, I loved it through and through.

Sentinel: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

AD: I am happy, and hopeful, and healthy, and here! What more can we really ask for?

Sentinel: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan question: Where in L.A. do you live?

AD: I live in what Angelenos call “The Valley.” Sherman Oaks, California to be exact.

Sentinel: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

AD: “A Strange Freedom” by Howard Thurman

Sentinel: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

AD: Yes, whenever my ego starts to get the best of me – I know that’s just fear rearing its ugly head.

Sentinel: The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

AD: My Mother.

Sentinel: How do you feel about Barack Obama’s becoming President?

AD: I feel empowered to do just about anything. If he can achieve his dream, I can achieve mine, and you can achieve yours. Whatever they may be.

Sentinel: The Laz Alonso question: Is there anything your fans can do to help you?

AD: Don’t buy bootleg. And please support black films on the first weekend.

Sentinel: What was the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome in life?

AD: Fear of failure.

Sentinel: Teri Emerson would like to know when was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

AD: Last night, at a screening of THIS IS THE LIFE. An emcee performed an amazingly hilarious freestyle after the show and we all fell out of our chairs.

Sentinel: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

AD: Be not afraid.

Sentinel: Do you have a website?


Sentinel: Thanks again for the interview, and best of luck with all your endeavors.

AD: Thanks, Kam. It’s an honored to be interviewed by you. Keep up the great work!

Lisa Cholodenko (b.1964)

source: Movie City News (2002/3)

Five years ago, in her critically acclaimed debut film, High Art, writer-director Lisa Cholodenko introduced audiences to a group of tragically hip Manhattan artists and photographers, whose only relief from the ravages of terminal boredom came from heroin and kinky sex.

Her second feature, Laurel Canyon (opening Friday in limited release) may have been set in a far sunnier and infinitely more casual corner of NeverNeverland, but the featured sybarites are every bit as determined to keep reality at bay for as long as is humanly possible. Instead of heroin, marijuana and beer are the primary intoxicants ingested by a group of musicians working feverishly to complete an album, under the watchful eye of a record producer who might have been around when Joni Mitchell first wrote "Ladies of the Canyon."

Frances McDormand delivers another smashing performance as Jane, the free-spirited producer who refuses to act her age. Complications arise when her conservative son, Sam (Christian Bale), returns home after graduation from Harvard Medical School with his rich fiancé, Alex (Kate Beckinsale), who's trying to complete on a research project. The idea of sharing the house with his mother and her much-younger boyfriend doesn't appeal to Sam, especially when Alex allows herself to be seduced by the rock 'n' roll lifestyle he abhors.

Just as she did in High Art, Cholodenko paints a remarkably detailed portrait of a highly dysfunctional group of artists and musicians cohabitating in the timeless oasis that is Laurel Canyon. She again resists the temptation to moralize or critique the lifestyles of her characters. It is a stance that's as refreshing as it is unusual.

This interview with the 38-year-old Valley native took place at the Le Meridien Hotel, last month.

by: Gary Dretzka

Movie City News: The Peter Pan male is a familiar character in the movies. Jane seems to possess all the characteristics of a Peter Pan female ... someone who lives in the Never-Neverland of Laurel Canyon, and has no real desire to grow up.

Lisa Cholodenko: Yeah. I didn't want to design a character that would come off as being some kind of desperado. It would have to be more of an unconscious thing.

MCN: Living in Laurel Canyon, and working in the music industry, there was very little pressure on Jane to stop smoking pot, find different friends, or dress and act like other women her age.

LC: Exactly. I didn't want her to be hung up on sex or drugs. Male characters in similar circumstances never are.

MCN: It seems as Jane could have stepped right out of Joni Mitchell's song, Laurel Canyon.

LC: I wanted to construct a character that might have lived through that period, and embodied some of the spirit of the women in that song.

MCN: Of course, she also had a home in Malibu, where her ex-boyfriend was camped out.

LC: Yes, a very booshie one.

MCN: Did the positive response to your first film, High Art,help grease the wheels for Laurel Canyon?

LC: Things were very weird for me in Hollywood that year, so the whole process took a long time. Then, when it looked as if the actors might go out on strike, we thought we'd have to put the project on hold for a while.

MCN: Considering that Frances played a rock 'n' roll mother - albeit of a very different sort - was it difficult to persuade her to play Jane?

LC: Someone suggested Frances to me for the part. I loved her work, and was really happy to hear she might be available. After her agent gave her the script, Frances was eager to do the part. We met with her the next day, and it seemed as if she was courting it.

MCN: And Jane wasn't required to experience the usual assortment of guilt feelings, second-guesses and anxiety that Hollywood normally expects from free-spirited women characters.

LC: When you think about, it's a juicy part for a woman of a certain age to play ... a sex object.

MCN: Did Jane's laissez-faire attitude toward drugs, sex, rock 'n' roll and motherhood - and Hollywood's traditional skittishness toward such permissive behavior in women - narrow the talent pool?

LC: Ironically, there weren't that many great actors for Kate's role. Maybe, that's because it's a less sympathetic role than Jane, in some way.

MCN: It reminded me, in some ways, of the risks Ally Sheedy took in High Art.

LC: The part of Jane is a great star role for a woman in her 40s. It required work to keep her sympathetic in all the usual ways ... she couldn't be sleazy, but she had to be sexy and have a great sense of humor. Frances embodies that better than any woman I could have imagined.

MCN: It isn't too much of stretch for me to believe that someone who grew up in the Valley could draw a persuasive portrait of this particular Lady of the Canyon. It surprised me, though, that you seemed to have such a handle on New York's heroin-chic art crowd.

LC: Well, I attended graduate school at Columbia and was living in New York before I made that movie. I knew that scene and modeled some of the characters from my friends there.

MCN: Recreational drug use was prevalent in both movies. Even so, it was presented in a very matter-of-fact and non-gratuitous way. In New York, the drugs of choice were heroin and cocaine, while the Laurel Canyon crowd preferred pot and booze. Did you get any feedback on this seemingly neutral POV?

LC: People were skittish about drug use in High Art. Not viewers, per se, but the companies we brought it to before it was made.

MCN: In High Art, the heroin use ultimately proved to be destructive to the lead character. Even so, these were the attractive people, and they looked good doing the drug. Some viewers might have found it difficult to "just say no" to heroin chic.

LC: I didn't see it that way. But I can understand how some people might have interpreted it that way. Lucy's death was a tragedy.

MCN: One of the recurring themes in your movies involves the complications that come from intimacy.

LC: I'm getting the feeling that people in our age group - I'm pushing 40 - are the ones who are going to respond to this movie most. I find it interesting that the only intelligent questions I've gotten on the movie are from people who are old enough to remember the '60s.

MCN: Maybe younger viewers are uncomfortable with Frances' character ... an unrepentant sybarite old enough to be their mother.

LC: Maybe. If you didn't live through that "if I feels good, do it" period, it's tough to envision what it was like. Things are different today.

MCN: Jane has a much younger boyfriend ... a rock singer who's closer in age to her son. I kept waiting for him to turn into a schmuck and dump her, but it doesn't happen.

LC: I liked him. He was a normal guy, not some cliché hair rocker. I suppose, some people will think he's adolescent, but I didn't. He was just one slice of Jane's pie. Some of the people in this movie might have been reckless pleasure seekers, but they weren't evil or malicious people. Ian really wanted to be with Jane.

MCN: Her home, with its lush vegetation and sprawling swimming pool, was just as important a presence in the film as any character. The Chateau Marmont also played an important role.

LC: People around the country only know about the Chateau because it was John Belushi died of a drug overdose. But, in L.A., it's known more as a hangout for artists and musicians. For me, it was more of a fun, personal location.

MCN: Not a product placement?

LC: No, no. Jane is the kind of L.A. woman who would have homes in Laurel Canyon and Malibu, but would crash at the Chateau when things got too crazy. We were shooting on location, anyway ... so, why not do it for real?


In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.