Through Her Lens: 2011 (The 84th Oscars) – Blog
A series of Juan Carlos Ojano. Presentation / Explanation
At the 84th Academy Awards, the winner of the Best Director award was Michel Hazanavicius, nominated for the first time for The artist (2011), the story of a silent film star on the brink of collapse as Hollywood transitions to talkies. The recreation of silent film from that era has become one of the most unusual Best Picture wins in recent memory. Hazanavicius faced off against four men who were former nominees in the category: Alexander Payne for Comedy Drama The descendantsTerrence Malick for the art film The tree of lifeand two previous winners in Martin Scorsese for Adventure Hugoand Woody Allen for the fantasy period Midnight in Paris.
2011 went as usual in the race for best director, with no female director ever seriously considered. The only questionable exception was an extreme longshot at the start of the conversation – Angelina Jolie for her directorial debut In the land of blood and honey. Out of 265 movies included in the recall list of eligible films in 2011 (84th Academy Awards), only 19 (7.2%) were directed/co-directed by women…
FILMS DIRECTED BY WOMEN NOMINATED FOR THE OSCARS (in alphabetical order): The Barber of Birmingham: foot soldier of the civil rights movement*, God is the greatest Elvis*, In Darkness, The Iron Lady, Kung Fu Panda 2, Saving Face*, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom*, WE, Wild Life* (*not in the Best Picture eligibility list)
AN ALTERNATE SET OF FIVE
Maryam Keshavarz – Circumstance
Keshavarz directs this transgressive piece of queer cinema set in modern-day Iran, telling the story of two best friends who experiment with sex and partying. Shared sexual repression and the burning desire to break free from it are felt everywhere. Hidden parts feel cramped, immediately establishing physical intimacy but with the caveat of not having the societal freedom to do so. Meanwhile, a scene depicting the dubbing of a sex film exudes high-powered eroticism without showing any graphic imagery. But the sex in this film does not exist in a bubble. The struggle for sexual freedom is part of a larger political context, one that pits the state against its imposed moral codes. A character’s depiction of intensified Islamic fundamentalism is progressive and complex, never losing the humanity of said character. It is a sobering reminder of the homophobia that runs deep in Iranian society. Broadcast on the Criterion channel.
Vera Farmiga- higher ground
Crises of faith do not always manifest themselves in the grandest of gestures. Sometimes they appear in the smallest details of life when doubt can unravel you. In her directorial debut, Farmiga explores the life of Corinne, a fundamentalist Christian whose belief in her church is shaken by a tragedy involving a close friend. The film inhabits the peaceful exterior of a close-knit religious community, with scenes capturing the banality of daily life. And yet, these scenes are the environment that slowly forms the cracks in Corinne’s devotion to her church. Quoting a Bible verse could be an empowering tool for Corinne one moment, then a way to remind her of the patriarchal nature of her religion the next. These moments are brief but piercing. The description of his path to self-determination is cleverly nuanced. Sometimes leaving one’s church is not a dramatic exit but a slow dodge. Broadcast on Tubi.
Kelly Reichard – Meek Cut
By charting his own path across the American frontier, Reichardt breaks the conventions of the Western genre to chart his own adventure. As we tell the story of a group of settlers in the high desert of Oregon, we witness their creeping descent into despair. The decision to focus on wives rather than their decision-making husbands accentuates the powerlessness of the situation. But Reichardt pushes the subversion even further: the wives, despite their contradictory temperaments, are by no means lacking in agency. The movie invests a lot of time focusing on the role they do in order for the whole group to survive. The stakes within the group are even higher when they hold a Native American captive to act as their guide. As they move towards the final stage of their quest, Mrs. Tetherow’s beautifully realized growth in respect for the native becomes the beating heart of the film. Broadcast on fuboTV, Showtime, AMC+, Kanopy and DirecTV.
Dee Rees- Pariah
In this semi-autobiographical film, Rees follows the life of Alike, a 17-year-old black lesbian who is coming to terms with her gender identity. Accepting one’s own identity can unfortunately feel like walking on eggshells. Through Rees’ keen eye on observing human behavior, we get an intimate portrait of how Alike negotiates her presence within the narrow confines of her environment. The smallest nuance in human behavior matters because the impactful changes in his life occur in the unsaid moments, especially with Alike’s relationship to his homosexuality. Visual proximity becomes our key to understanding how even the smallest of interactions can signify a multitude of emotions. The film follows its arc through alternating music and silence, emphasizing Alike’s soul despite its unspoken facade. Rees’ thoughtful exploration of Alike’s blossoming is both inner and expansive. Streams on HBO Max and DirecTV.
Larysa Kondraki – the whistler
Violence and impunity are at the heart of Kondracki’s captivating thriller. Based on true events, the film tells the story of a police officer who uncovers a sex trafficking ring involving international peacekeepers on the ground in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kondacki’s choice not to shy away from its dark subject matter gives the film its power. A disturbing scene illustrating the graphic abuse is shown in detail and detail, making us feel the crushing defeat of the experience of the. But just in time for the worst part of the ordeal, the camera shifts focus and instead lingers on a viewer’s face. Kondracki understands the act of re-enactment and its significance without fully descending into exploitation. It’s always done with care and comes from a place of empathy. The result is a maddening film of purpose and aggression. Stream on Prime Video, fuboTV, The Roku Channel, VUDU, Tubi TV and Kanopy.
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