martedì 8 marzo 2016

Little (?) Women

It is sad to realize we still need something called Women’s Day in the year 2016. 
But this is the reality of things: the macho mentality is always around the corner, everywhere, with no exception, not to mention places (and there are many of them in this world) where women’s freedom simply doesn’t exist. 
It sucks. It greatly sucks. 
The other day I was reading an article about the female presence in cinema and television in the United States and in France and it was extremely depressing. The percentage of female film-makers, producers and screen writers is ridiculous, and when it comes to fields like cinematography or editing, simply forget about them! 
Ida Lupino (courtesy of BFI)
Maggie Gyllenhaal, 38 years old, one of the best actresses in Hollywood, told the press she has recently been refused for a part in a movie since she was considered too old to be the love interest of her male counterpart, 50 years old!!! 
You gotta be kidding me, guys. 
Some actresses, desperate about the too stupid and secondary roles they are constantly offered, have started to create their own production companies. 
It is of few days ago the news that Juliette Binoche and Jessica Chastain are creating one of those together. 
And we don’t even mention the difference in salaries, of course! 
J. Chastain&J.Binoche (courtesy of Madame Figaro)
If this is what happens in the so-called advanced world, of course the situation is much worse and often desperate in other parts of the world. 
Last November, the Moroccan actress Loubna Abidar, who played the role of a prostitute in a film called Much Loved (by Nabil Ayouch), has been attacked outside a club in Casablanca by a group of men only because she played that part. She posted a video talking about this episode and about what happened to her when she went to the hospital and then to see the police: instead of being helped, she was basically told she deserved what she had.
She is now living in France to avoid death threats:
There are many movies talking about women’s conditions in difficult places: recent stories set in Iran, various parts of Africa, Middle East countries and even less suspicious countries. 
I was personally shocked by the vision of a recent movie set in Israel, where a woman tries to get a divorce (yes, a simple divorce): in that country it could be granted just by rabbis and, useless to say, they are men who tend to give right to other men and not to listen to what women have to say (if you have the guts to see it, the movie is Gett - The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, by Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, and Zazie already wrote a post about it):
Viviane Amsalem (magnificent Ronit Elkabetz)
Possibly the worst country on this planet where a woman could live is Saudi Arabia, where apparently cinema don’t exist (my idea of hell on earth) and where, in any case, women are not allowed to enter into theatres. In 2012, the female film-maker Haifaa Al-Mansour wrote and directed a wonderful movie called Wadjda (La bicicletta verde): it was the first feature length made by a female Saudi director (in 2012!!!) and the first feature film entirely shot in Saudi Arabia (I told you it was hell!). Because of the ridiculous restrictions placed on women in that country, the film-maker could not interact with her mostly male crew, and so she was obliged to direct the streets scenes from a van near the shooting locations, watching in a monitor and giving directing instructions via walkie-talkie. Unbelievable! 
But, hey, she made it (the shooting of The Revenant looks like a stroll in the countryside compared to this, don’t you think?). 
When I saw Suffragette (by Sarah Gavron) few months ago, I was so impressed by what our sisters from the past had to endure to give us the right to vote, but I was even more disconcerted when I read that the so-considered very civilized Switzerland gave to women the right to vote in… 1971. WTF!!!
The other depressing aspect, it is the way female characters are often portrayed in movies made by men. 
For one Jane Campion, there are hundreds David Fincher. 
It is still so, so, so rare to see modern, complex, interesting, independent women portrayed in movies. 
Things are changing, it is true, but fuck they are changing too slowly for my taste. 
This is why I salute and I often writes about Stella Gibson, the main character of the TV series The Fall (series created by a men, Allan Cubitt, you see… there’s hope!) who is a beautiful, sexy, feminine, smart, badass, bi-sexual, single woman who doesn’t need any help from men but who, at the same time, doesn’t hide her fears and, best thing of all, doesn’t need to justify herself for being what she is. 
I hope there will be more and more Stella Gibson on screen in the future.
Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)
I sometimes think about the scene in Zero Dark Thirty (by Kathryn Bigelow) when Maya is in a room full of men and they are saying to their boss where Bin Laden is hiding. 
And the moment she starts talking, the boss asks: who are you? 
And Maya answers back to him: I am the motherfucker that found this place, sir.
In case you still didn't get it...

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