feministfilm

Jan 14

There’s something be considered about a white supremacist patriarchy SO STRONG that it allows Ben Affleck to win awards for things.

Like,

this guy

GOLDEN GLOBES UPDATE

Racist fuckbag Ben Affleck won best director for racist orientalist disaster Argo. I don’t think he should get anymore money or attention or time but I’m secretly glad Kathryn Bigelow didn’t win for Zero Dark Thirty ‘cause I don’t think I could handle pretending like it’s some sort of feminist victory that a white lady found success in big scary sexist hollywood by becoming an orientalist fuckbag as bad as Ben Affleck.

Dec 28

(Made rebloggable by request.)

I just saw The Hobbit in 3D. Here is my feminist review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

I took my mother to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Christmas day because she has read all of Tolkien’s books at least eight times. My mom really likes Peter Jackson because he cares about women and especially moms. (One of Peter Jackson’s first films was about a man acting as caretaker for his zombie mom.) Peter Jackson cares about moms. Unfortunately there are no moms in the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. (None. Do not argue with me.) J.R.R. Tolkien did not care about moms, which is why he was so beloved by Jimmy Page. There are no women in The Hobbit (none, don’t argue with me), so in adapting it to film they had to bulk it up with some Galadriel content. It was pretty alright, Cate Blanchett is good at her Elf Job.

The best part about The Hobbit, as a novel and a film adaptation, is that there are not many elves as compared to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Elves are fucking obnoxious and nobody likes them, and I’m sick of Tolkien’s weird anglo supremacist allegorical nonsense, and elves’ false sense of cultural superiority when it comes to writing systems. No one cares, elves.

The Hobbit is good because it is about dwarves. Dwarves are better. What made this film really good was that they reshaped the narrative and turned it into a story of dwarves fighting to reclaim their homeland from a colonizing dragon. In the novel, if I recall correctly, dwarves are mostly out to pillage the mountain and take Smaug’s treasure. This adaptation is much more moving and compelling! It basically transformed the story into one of a displaced people seeking justice during a time when middle earth’s greatest powers—FUCKING RIVENDELL, ELVES—were trying to maintain a vision of “peace” and “political stability” and “neutrality” which benefited and maintained their own power while neglecting to address the needs of oppressed and marginalized groups in middle earth. Something tells me that this adaptation was inspired at least a little by that standby legend that Tolkien’s depictions of orcs were Nazi allegories. The film really plays up the whole “dwarves were displaced and chased out of their homeland and are looking to reclaim a settlement while being hunted and brutalized by orcs and goblins” which is hamfisted but also soooo aaaaawesome. Except, you know, to compound Tolkien’s gross racial stratifications, it’s pretty disgusting to see this story of solidarity between hobbits and dwarves, this allegory of struggle and colonization, applied by a production that refused to cast or represent anyone who wasn’t white.

Did I mention I saw this thing in 3D? This was my mother’s idea. I have a hard time with visual processing and couldn’t see much of anything. I cried about this in the theater. 3D movies rank poorly for accessibility and they are expensive and I hate them. (Off the top of my head, I know that s.e. smith has written about accessibility concerns in movie theaters and with 3D in particular, but I would love to read more.)

Anyway, I think my mother liked it okay. She pretended that her mild disappointment arose from the slapsticky action and the less-than-faithful adaptation, but I know she’s had it up for Viggo since the late eighties, and she was probably just bummed that this film lacked the beefcake she’s come to expect.

Anonymous asked: im sad that this blog is no longer active. i miss your posts!

I’ll come back! I just saw The Hobbit in 3D. Here is my feminist review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

I took my mother to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Christmas day because she has read all of Tolkien’s books at least eight times. My mom really likes Peter Jackson because he cares about women and especially moms. (One of Peter Jackson’s first films was about a man acting as caretaker for his zombie mom.) Peter Jackson cares about moms. Unfortunately there are no moms in the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. (None. Do not argue with me.) J.R.R. Tolkien did not care about moms, which is why he was so beloved by Jimmy Page. There are no women in The Hobbit (none, don’t argue with me), so in adapting it to film they had to bulk it up with some Galadriel content. It was pretty alright, Cate Blanchett is good at her Elf Job.

The best part about The Hobbit, as a novel and a film adaptation, is that there are not many elves as compared to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Elves are fucking obnoxious and nobody likes them, and I’m sick of Tolkien’s weird anglo supremacist allegorical nonsense, and elves’ false sense of cultural superiority when it comes to writing systems. No one cares, elves.

The Hobbit is good because it is about dwarves. Dwarves are better. What made this film really good was that they reshaped the narrative and turned it into a story of dwarves fighting to reclaim their homeland from a colonizing dragon. In the novel, if I recall correctly, dwarves are mostly out to pillage the mountain and take Smaug’s treasure. This adaptation is much more moving and compelling! It basically transformed the story into one of a displaced people seeking justice during a time when middle earth’s greatest powers—FUCKING RIVENDELL, ELVES—were trying to maintain a vision of “peace” and “political stability” and “neutrality” which benefited and maintained their own power while neglecting to address the needs of oppressed and marginalized groups in middle earth. Something tells me that this adaptation was inspired at least a little by that standby legend that Tolkien’s depictions of orcs were Nazi allegories. The film really plays up the whole “dwarves were displaced and chased out of their homeland and are looking to reclaim a settlement while being hunted and brutalized by orcs and goblins” which is hamfisted but also soooo aaaaawesome. Except, you know, to compound Tolkien’s gross racial stratifications, it’s pretty disgusting to see this story of solidarity between hobbits and dwarves, this allegory of struggle and colonization, applied by a production that refused to cast or represent anyone who wasn’t white.

Did I mention I saw this thing in 3D? This was my mother’s idea. I have a hard time with visual processing and couldn’t see much of anything. I cried about this in the theater. 3D movies rank poorly for accessibility and they are expensive and I hate them. (Off the top of my head, I know that s.e. smith has written about accessibility concerns in movie theaters and with 3D in particular, but I would love to read more.)

Anyway, I think my mother liked it okay. She pretended that her mild disappointment arose from the slapsticky action and the less-than-faithful adaptation, but I know she’s had it up for Viggo since the late eighties, and she was probably just bummed that this film lacked the beefcake she’s come to expect.

Nov 25

Anonymous asked: I seem to remember your blog posting a link to another blog or site that has a list of movies and the things they could possibly trigger? If so, could you post the link again? I'm just now realizing what triggers me and I want to be prepared for possible triggering things in movies. Thanks!

I believe this is what you are looking for? Hope it helps.

Nov 02

[video]

Are you fucking kidding me?

A Double Jeopardy category called “who’s that girl director?” just aired. The “easiest” question in the category asked for the director of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle (you know, one of the most successful female directors of all time, who is Nora Ephron). No one got it. The next easiest question asked for The Hurt Locker, and a dude guessed “who is Sofia Coppola?” The next two were about actresses-turned-directors Drew Barrymore and Angelina Jolie (the were both correctly guessed).

The “hardest” question was looking for Amy Heckerling—I coulda answered it when I was nine—and some dude guessed a male director. (I forget who it was, I gotta wait til it goes up on J. Archive in a few days.)

I am gonna give these sexist nerds EVERY SWIRLIE. If you don’t know who Kathryn Bigelow is, what are you even doing on Jeopardy??

Oct 29

[TRIGGER WARNING]Lana Wachowski Reveals Suicide Plan, Painful Past in Emotional Speech

transqueery:

This story first appeared in the Nov. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

In a funny, honest and deeply moving speech delivered Oct. 20 at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala fundraising dinner in San Francisco, Wachowski revealed painful details related to growing up transgender.Cloud Atlas co-director Lana Wachowski is breaking her silence on her traumatic childhood.

Q&A: ‘Cloud Atlas’ Director Lana Wachowski on Her Emotional Coming-Out Speech: ‘It Was Just the Universe Saying I Should Do It’ 

She once suffered a physical beating at the hands of a Catholic school nun after she failed to join a line of boys and nearly committed suicide as a young adult before being stared down by a man who wandered onto an empty subway platform where Wachowski was standing.

“I don’t know why he wouldn’t look away,” Wachowski told the crowd. “All I know is that because he didn’t, I am still here.”

Wachowski, 47, half of the sibling directing team behind The Matrix trilogy, was on hand to accept the Visibility Award for her recent decision to reverse a long-standing policy of eschewing press and public appearances and to openly acknowledge her transition — a word she said she dislikes “because of its complicity in a binary gender narrative” — to womanhood.

Surrounded by brother Andy, their parents and her wife, Wachowski shared her coming-out story with a crowd of 600 at the event, which for 28 years has raised funds for LGBT-friendly causes (past HRC Visibility Award honorees include Portia Di RossiPrecious director Lee Daniels and Milkscreenwriter Dustin Lance Black).

A source at the event — attended by Joel Podolny, incoming vp and dean of Apple University, and Ben Cotner, senior vp acquisitions at Open Road Films — says the moment Wachowski stepped off the stage after her 25-minute speech, she cried for 10 minutes.

“Lana’s willingness to tell her story will impact and change countless lives across the world,” says HRC president Chad Griffin, who introduced Wachowski. “She is a giant in her industry, and for someone with such success and such profile to be willing to tell their personal story to the world sends a tremendous message to LGBT people across the globe that they too can aspire to be a giant in their industry.”

Ahead of Cloud Atlas’ Oct. 24 L.A. premiere, her first red carpet appearance in 12 years, Wachowskitells The Hollywood Reporter, “They’ve been contacting me off and on for a while, and I’ve always said, ‘No, I don’t do that sort of thing.” But her schedule worked out “and my wife thought it was a good idea to do it now.”

clambistrooooooo:

Man, am I ever sick and tired of Joss Whedon. 

In so many of the blogs I read, time and again I see reams of words paying tribute to Joss Whedon’s status as a righteous feminist, because he manages to write reasonably three-dimensional female characters. (Natasha Simmons’ Reconsidering the feminism of Joss Whedon is worth reading.)

When Whedon imagined a hypothetical interviewer’s asking him “So, why do you write these strong women characters?”, his imagined answer was “Because you’re still asking me that question”. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen this excerpted and quoted on Tumblr, every time with a zillion notes.

A more impressive actual feminist response might have been “Because I’m a white guy and we write the bulk of the content in Hollywood, as it’s nearly impossible for women - not to mention women of colour - to sell a screenplay.”

Now, we have to work with what we’ve got: I appreciate that given male screenwriters and directors are in the majority, we should commend those who create good female characters (James Cameron is a tired example from the Clam Bistro hall of fame), but not at the expense of actual female filmmakers.

You do not see the same amount of column or blog space devoted to the work of female filmmakers who are working right now, like Kelly Reichardt, Dee Rees, Zoe Kazan, or Sarah Polley. Instead of rehashing the same old Buffy discussion, why don’t more people write about Leigh Brackett? Why don’t more people know about Leigh Brackett? Why not read FeministFilm instead of AintItCoolNews??

I swear I planned to reblog this before I saw the shouts. But !!

(Source: clambistro)

Oct 28

Men still have trouble recognizing that a woman can be complex, can have ambition, good looks, sexuality, erudition, and common sense. A woman can have all those facets, and yet men, in literature and in drama, seem to need to simplify women, to polarize us as either the whore or the angel. That sensibility is prevalent, even to this day.

I had to reconcile the real person and the character of Anne Boleyn as created in the text. For the actor, the text is your bible. You can try to put a spin on the nuances, but in the end our job is to be the vehicle of the text. But I got tired of flying the flag of Showtime in interviews, [justifying the show’s sexuality and inaccuracies] when in the pit of my stomach, I agreed wholly with what the interviewer was saying to me. I lost many hours of sleep, and actually shed tears during my portrayal of her, trying to inject historical truth into the script, trying to do right by this woman that I had read so much about. It was a constant struggle, because the original script had that tendency to polarize women into saint and whore. It wasn’t deliberate, but it was there.

I begged Michael Hirst to do it right in the second [season]. He listened to me because he knew I knew my history. And I remember saying to him: `Throw everything you’ve got at me. Promise me you’ll do that. I can do it. The politics, the religion, the personal stuff, throw everything you’ve got at me. I can take it.’ I wanted to show that she was a human being, a young woman placed in a really difficult and awful situation, manipulated by her father, the king, and circumstances, but that she was also feisty and interesting and had a point of view and tried to use her powers to advance what she believed in. And I wanted people to live with her, to live through her. To see her.

” — Natalie Dormer, discussing the difficulty of giving an accurate portrayal of Anne Boleyn on The Tudors (x)

(Source: ragsmartinjones, via emberfine)

Oct 24

Violence in American Horror Story’s “Asylum”

The history of mental illness in America is a strange and turbulent one. People with mental health issues tend to be much maligned in society, labeled as “crazy”, “insane”, even “dangerous”. It’s important to consider this while watching the newest season of American Horror Story, which focuses on asylums run by a nun with hang-ups about sin and a doctor who conducts suspicious experiments on patients.

Essentially, the pilot featured nearly every negative aspect of mental health history. In a way, one could say this is fine, because people should be aware of the negative aspects of asylums and sanatoriums. People should be aware that mental health patients have been abused and experimented on. You should be aware that people have been locked up against their consent, for the simple reason that they didn’t fit in with societal standards and mental illness was the best method for explaining away their alleged defection. They could be locked up, never to be heard from again. It really was not that long ago that “homosexuality” was removed from the DSM-III (in 1973) as a form of mental illness. However, while most people know that, what they do not know is that some psychiatrists circulated a petition arguing against the removal of the word, and in 1980, a new category was created called “ego-dystonic homosexuality”, which still claimed this sexual identity as a disorder. Complete removal of homosexuality was official in 1986. See? Not that long ago.

People are also not aware of the extensive history of lobotomies, which was also a somewhat recent practice as it was discovered in 1935. Rosemary Kennedy, JFK’s younger sister, is a famous victim of a prefrontal lobotomy which her father consented to as a method to try and contain her violent mood swings and outbursts. She was only 23. As a result, she was rendered incapable of doing hardly anything at all, even though despite her mood swings and low IQ, she lived a fairly normal life. Other controversial methods of therapies were discovered around the same time, including various forms of shock therapies and electroconvulsive therapy. ECT is actually still used today; Carrie Fisher, of Star Wars fame, talks about her experiences with it frequently and it’s pretty jarring to read about. While she does claim it helps, she also admits that it erases huge blocks of memory: “What I’ve found is that, at least for the moment, most of my old memories remain intact, but I totally lose the months before and after the treatment. Exactly how much time I lose is really difficult to say, because what I’m ultimately doing is trying to remember how much I forgot, which is an incredibly complex endeavor, to say the least” (Shockaholic, p. 5). It helps, but not without a consequence.

The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) has adopted for its symbol a bell. There is an actual metal bell weighing 300 lbs that the NMHA had made, with the inscription: “Cast from shackles which bound them, this bell shall ring out hope for the mentally ill and victory over mental illness”. The bell was made from the discarded iron shackles and chains used in asylums to restrain patients by their wrists and ankles as a form of treatment.

This is a history full of pain, suffering, and stigma. There is still stigma today, and this is part of the reason why I strongly dislike the new series of American Horror Story so far. To appropriate this traumatic history and use it as a measure of “freakiness”, to scare and shock viewers, as it explores this strange asylum with a serial killer who skins women, a doctor who performs Mengele-like experiments on patients who have no family or friends, nuns who dream about doing the deed and take their sexual frustration out in a weird form of repressed anger, and apparently, aliens, is exploitative and negates much of the positive aspects that the psychological field has accomplished. Ryan Murphy manages to drive his stereotyping home by featuring a Schlitzie lookalike right down to the gingham dress and hair ribbon, who sweetly gives Sarah Paulson some flowers and in the same scene is mentioned to have brutally killed family. Schlitzie, best known for his role in the 1931 film Freaks, had a sweet, caring disposition and was sadly abandoned to a hospital for a time and became depressed as a result (he was eventually rescued and had a happy ending). This bothered me because it was yet another aspect of appropriation and mangling it into something negative.

While I am interested to see where this season continues, I don’t think it is off to a good start. Horror does not equal shock value, and that is precisely what American Horror Story: Asylum is attempting to do. Where the first season left off on misogynistic representations of women and glorifying bad boy murderers, the second season picks up on the exploitation and stereotyping of mental illness. In a world where mental illness is already still heavily stigmatized, this is an ignorant and unnecessary bastardization of mental health practices.

Cait

So American Horror Story is happening again. If you were with us last season, you might recall that I was briefly excited to talk about domestic horror and jars fulla dead fetuses. While I stuck with the show til the season finale—looked forward to it even, because I love ghosts—I stopped writing about it. There were a lot of reasons, but two of them were important: the show’s potential to offer something new to the genre (and to the ladies) was buried with Hayden and rotted as she spent the rest of the series fucking-killing-and-manipulating; and it became painfully obvious (after so many fetuses) that Ryan Murphy was smugly pandering for “feminist” buzz. Murphy and Falchuk are, after all, the guys who perfected a brand of superficial gay representation and GLAAD-award-winning humblebraggery. Glee (for all the things that may be great about it) panders to queer audiences for brownie points.
If you can’t tell from the gif above, this season of American Horror Story is about pandering to feminist issues. It’s gotta be the most fumbling, eye-roll-inducing, poorly-written and inexplicable line I’ve ever heard, but something tells me they expect to be applauded for it.
But I’ll continue to watch, mostly because Clea Duvall is on board this season. (Talk about gay pandering, right? There is no better way to sell something to queer girls than to put a Clea Duvall on it. I am givin’ her all my money.) This season is not in continuity with the last, it’s got some of the same cast in new roles and takes place in a Catholic mental asylum during the sixties. While the feminist one-liners (and Clea Duvall-Sarah Paulson makeouts [!!]) are laid on thick, this season is really about disability. (It’s also about thin cliches of sexually repressed nuns taking out their frustration on sexually liberated girls.) (There may also be aliens.)
But! I have less cynical news! We have a guest blogger coming on board to talk about disability and mental health issues on American Horror Story: Asylum!
Look out for a piece from Cait, who tumbls at Morerobots, offering some things to think about while we consume AHS's asylum tropes tonight.

So American Horror Story is happening again. If you were with us last season, you might recall that I was briefly excited to talk about domestic horror and jars fulla dead fetuses. While I stuck with the show til the season finale—looked forward to it even, because I love ghosts—I stopped writing about it. There were a lot of reasons, but two of them were important: the show’s potential to offer something new to the genre (and to the ladies) was buried with Hayden and rotted as she spent the rest of the series fucking-killing-and-manipulating; and it became painfully obvious (after so many fetuses) that Ryan Murphy was smugly pandering for “feminist” buzz. Murphy and Falchuk are, after all, the guys who perfected a brand of superficial gay representation and GLAAD-award-winning humblebraggery. Glee (for all the things that may be great about it) panders to queer audiences for brownie points.

If you can’t tell from the gif above, this season of American Horror Story is about pandering to feminist issues. It’s gotta be the most fumbling, eye-roll-inducing, poorly-written and inexplicable line I’ve ever heard, but something tells me they expect to be applauded for it.

But I’ll continue to watch, mostly because Clea Duvall is on board this season. (Talk about gay pandering, right? There is no better way to sell something to queer girls than to put a Clea Duvall on it. I am givin’ her all my money.) This season is not in continuity with the last, it’s got some of the same cast in new roles and takes place in a Catholic mental asylum during the sixties. While the feminist one-liners (and Clea Duvall-Sarah Paulson makeouts [!!]) are laid on thick, this season is really about disability. (It’s also about thin cliches of sexually repressed nuns taking out their frustration on sexually liberated girls.) (There may also be aliens.)

But! I have less cynical news! We have a guest blogger coming on board to talk about disability and mental health issues on American Horror Story: Asylum!

Look out for a piece from Cait, who tumbls at Morerobots, offering some things to think about while we consume AHS's asylum tropes tonight.

(Source: lohan)

Oct 22

Joanelle Romero is the founder of Red Nation Media, which hosts the Red Nation Film Festival, and which is specifically designed to promote native women in film and television. (The ninth annual festival is happening the week of November seventh in Los Angeles.)
Romero started her film career as an actress, in Barbarosa (a 1982 western), Parasite (1982), and Powwow Highway (1989). In 2000 she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian. 
She also co-founded Native American Heritage Month (which is in November), because she is amazing!

Joanelle Romero is the founder of Red Nation Media, which hosts the Red Nation Film Festival, and which is specifically designed to promote native women in film and television. (The ninth annual festival is happening the week of November seventh in Los Angeles.)

Romero started her film career as an actress, in Barbarosa (a 1982 western), Parasite (1982), and Powwow Highway (1989). In 2000 she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian.

She also co-founded Native American Heritage Month (which is in November), because she is amazing!

attackofthegiantants:

TOP 5 HORROR HEROINES
#3: Jessica Harper as Suzy Bannion in Suspiria
Let me preface this by saying that a year ago, I hadn’t even seen Suspiria. It was the first Argento film I ever saw and after having watched most of his films this past year, I can safely say that it has my favourite female protagonist of any of his work. Jessica Harper is terrific as Suzy, a young woman who has just transferred to a prestigious dance academy with a sordid history. She soon grows suspicious of the nature of the school not too long after her arrival, when she sees a student fleeing from it and into the woods. Suzy is truly the perfect character to take you along her journey in Suspiria, because much like the audience, she is a blank slate. She has no foreknowledge of what is to happen, so as she discovers every creepy, terrifying aspect about her school, we are all along for the ride, right beside her. Suzy is not without help for the duration of this film. Other students begin to grow wary of their surroundings, and ultimately meet undesirable fates. But without other characters like Sara there to guide her, Suzy would be a bit of a lost cause. She’s drugged by her instructors (ala Rosemary’s Baby) for asking a few too many questions for their liking. During these scenes, she’s not very helpful. Sara does a bit of the detective work for her, but pays a price. Still, Suzy remains to be my favourite Argento heroine. Once she figures out what she’s gotten herself into, well… she gets shit done, to put it simply. Now, although all of Argento’s films are dubbed, this is a very visual film, so I don’t think it takes anything away from her performance. I can’t stop myself from wondering what it would be like if she were in another Argento film, but dare to dream, right?

attackofthegiantants:

TOP 5 HORROR HEROINES

#3: Jessica Harper as Suzy Bannion in Suspiria

Let me preface this by saying that a year ago, I hadn’t even seen Suspiria. It was the first Argento film I ever saw and after having watched most of his films this past year, I can safely say that it has my favourite female protagonist of any of his work. Jessica Harper is terrific as Suzy, a young woman who has just transferred to a prestigious dance academy with a sordid history. She soon grows suspicious of the nature of the school not too long after her arrival, when she sees a student fleeing from it and into the woods. Suzy is truly the perfect character to take you along her journey in Suspiria, because much like the audience, she is a blank slate. She has no foreknowledge of what is to happen, so as she discovers every creepy, terrifying aspect about her school, we are all along for the ride, right beside her. Suzy is not without help for the duration of this film. Other students begin to grow wary of their surroundings, and ultimately meet undesirable fates. But without other characters like Sara there to guide her, Suzy would be a bit of a lost cause. She’s drugged by her instructors (ala Rosemary’s Baby) for asking a few too many questions for their liking. During these scenes, she’s not very helpful. Sara does a bit of the detective work for her, but pays a price. Still, Suzy remains to be my favourite Argento heroine. Once she figures out what she’s gotten herself into, well… she gets shit done, to put it simply. Now, although all of Argento’s films are dubbed, this is a very visual film, so I don’t think it takes anything away from her performance. I can’t stop myself from wondering what it would be like if she were in another Argento film, but dare to dream, right?

Oct 20

ourcatastrophe:

deborah mailman; miranda tipping; jessica mauboy; shari sebbens.  I finally saw The Sapphires last night with moniquemallo, it’s been in cinemas in Australia for over two months.  I’m pretty bad at getting around to seeing movies but I’m really glad I made the time to see this one before its run was over.  as you should know by now, it’s about an all-Australian-Aboriginal girl group who made a tour of Vietnam during the war as part of the US troop entertainment programs.  It’s an adaptation of a play written by Aboriginal playwright Tony Briggs, who wrote the story based on the real life Sapphires, his mother and aunts.  (director Wayne Blair is also Aboriginal.)the thing I didn’t realise going in is that it’s about Yorta Yorta women who grew up on Cummeragunja Station.  that’s only a couple of hours out of Melbourne and it’s refreshing to see a film about the large Aboriginal population in the south-east of Australia.  Lou Bennett (Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Warrung woman, Older Wiser Lesbian, accomplished musician, playwright, language reclamation scholar, kind and charming human) was one of the consultants, and I will check out pretty much anything she has touched.  the parts of the film that deal with Yorta Yorta culture, history, and dispossession are very good.  it stars Deborah Mailman and Jessica Mauboy, who are extraordinary in everything I’ve seen them in, including this.  newcomers Miranda Tipping and Shari Sebbens are also excellent.  the musical numbers are great, I am particularly grumpy that Jessica Mauboy is not an international pop superstar.  it’s not perfect.  a few plot threads I really wanted to know about were dropped.  it’s not an anti-war movie, really, though two of the original Sapphires were staunchly anti-war, and the treatment of Vietnamese people in general is pretty thin.  the main complaint most people I know would have is with the  white “manager” character played by Chris O’Dowd, who is entitled, ridiculous, and pretty racist.  the trailer (which is terrible) makes it look like the film is annoying but it’s more that he is annoying.  you are supposed to be laughing at him, more than with him, but still grow to be attached to him, as the women do. I guess it’s better that he was written as a flawed character than as an unrealistically post-racial kinda guy, but he also fucks around a lot, compromises the women’s safety, possibly gambles away all their money (unclear), and never really does anything to make himself seem like a person you want in your life.  fuck a larrikin.  it’s also really annoying to me that reviews consistently single out Chris O’Dowd as “elevating” the film, or something like that.  he was good, but I wouldn’t have said he was the standout actor; I’d give that gong to Mailman. Anyway, I’m keen to hear what other people thought of his character, especially women of colour, especially perhaps women of colour who’ve dated white dudes.  having said that, it’s a kind, funny, moving, film.  I dunno, I basically only wanna watch rom-coms and science fiction, I have low-brow tastes like that.  But I’m mad about descriptions of The Sapphires as “a sweet’n’dumb feelgood bopper” — wow, Henry Barnes of the Guardian!  do you wanna be a little more condescending?  It’s funny and entertaining and has a light touch on some heavy issues; it’s not dumb.  christ.  I fucking love rom-coms and it’s awesome to see one that is, for once, not about a bunch of cookie-cutter white American entreprenuers.  you should see it.

ourcatastrophe:

deborah mailman; miranda tipping; jessica mauboy; shari sebbens. 

I finally saw The Sapphires last night with moniquemallo, it’s been in cinemas in Australia for over two months.  I’m pretty bad at getting around to seeing movies but I’m really glad I made the time to see this one before its run was over. 

as you should know by now, it’s about an all-Australian-Aboriginal girl group who made a tour of Vietnam during the war as part of the US troop entertainment programs.  It’s an adaptation of a play written by Aboriginal playwright Tony Briggs, who wrote the story based on the real life Sapphires, his mother and aunts.  (director Wayne Blair is also Aboriginal.)

the thing I didn’t realise going in is that it’s about Yorta Yorta women who grew up on Cummeragunja Station.  that’s only a couple of hours out of Melbourne and it’s refreshing to see a film about the large Aboriginal population in the south-east of Australia.  Lou Bennett (Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Warrung woman, Older Wiser Lesbian, accomplished musician, playwright, language reclamation scholar, kind and charming human) was one of the consultants, and I will check out pretty much anything she has touched.  the parts of the film that deal with Yorta Yorta culture, history, and dispossession are very good. 

it stars Deborah Mailman and Jessica Mauboy, who are extraordinary in everything I’ve seen them in, including this.  newcomers Miranda Tipping and Shari Sebbens are also excellent.  the musical numbers are great, I am particularly grumpy that Jessica Mauboy is not an international pop superstar. 

it’s not perfect.  a few plot threads I really wanted to know about were dropped.  it’s not an anti-war movie, really, though two of the original Sapphires were staunchly anti-war, and the treatment of Vietnamese people in general is pretty thin.  the main complaint most people I know would have is with the  white “manager” character played by Chris O’Dowd, who is entitled, ridiculous, and pretty racist.  the trailer (which is terrible) makes it look like the film is annoying but it’s more that he is annoying.  you are supposed to be laughing at him, more than with him, but still grow to be attached to him, as the women do. I guess it’s better that he was written as a flawed character than as an unrealistically post-racial kinda guy, but he also fucks around a lot, compromises the women’s safety, possibly gambles away all their money (unclear), and never really does anything to make himself seem like a person you want in your life.  fuck a larrikin.  it’s also really annoying to me that reviews consistently single out Chris O’Dowd as “elevating” the film, or something like that.  he was good, but I wouldn’t have said he was the standout actor; I’d give that gong to Mailman. Anyway, I’m keen to hear what other people thought of his character, especially women of colour, especially perhaps women of colour who’ve dated white dudes. 

having said that, it’s a kind, funny, moving, film.  I dunno, I basically only wanna watch rom-coms and science fiction, I have low-brow tastes like that.  But I’m mad about descriptions of The Sapphires as “a sweet’n’dumb feelgood bopper” — wow, Henry Barnes of the Guardian!  do you wanna be a little more condescending?  It’s funny and entertaining and has a light touch on some heavy issues; it’s not dumb.  christ.  I fucking love rom-coms and it’s awesome to see one that is, for once, not about a bunch of cookie-cutter white American entreprenuers.  you should see it.

(via browcatastrophe-deactivated2013)