AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

12/31/15

The Curious Case Of The Missing Women In Film Criticism


By Thelma Adams
Variety

...According to the Gender at the Movies study of top critics on Rotten Tomatoes, men account for 91% of those writing for movie/entertainment magazines and websites such as Entertainment Weekly; 90% of those writing for trade publications and websites; 80% of critics writing for general interest magazines and sites such as Time and Salon; 72% of those writing for newspaper sites; and 70% of critics writing for radio outlets and sites such as NPR...

Continue To Read Here


Thelma Adams in a member of The Women Film Critics Circle 

12/16/15

WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS AND CEREMONY ON-AIR 2015

THE WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS CEREMONY 2015 BROADCAST

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

The Women Film Critics Circle Awards 2015

The Women Film Critics Circle is an association of sixty-five women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally, who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media. We came together in 2004 to form the first women critics organization in the United States, in the belief that women's perspectives and voices in film criticism need to be recognized fully.

WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 2015



BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
Suffragette

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN

Suffragette

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]

Carol: Phyllis Nagy

BEST ACTRESS

Carey Mulligan: Suffragette

BEST ACTOR

Eddie Redmayne: The Danish Girl

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS

Brie Larson: Room


BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS
Amy Schumer: Trainwreck

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

The Second Mother

BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Suffragette

WORST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Jurassic World
       
BEST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
  
Bridge Of Spies

WORST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
   
Steve Jobs

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Amy

BEST SCREEN COUPLE
TIE:
45 Years: Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay
Room: Brie Larson and Jason Tremblay

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Bessie

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES

Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST ANIMATED FEMALE

Joy, Amy Poehler: Inside Out

BEST FAMILY FILM
Inside Out

WOMEN'S WORK/BEST ENSEMBLE

Suffragette

*SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS*


COURAGE IN FILMMAKING
Sarah Gavron: Suffragette

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD:
A film that most passionately opposes violence against women
He Named Me Malala
 
*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD:
For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
What Happened, Miss Simone?

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD:
For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
Suffragette

ACTING AND ACTIVISM AWARD
Olivia Wilde: For her work with Save The Children, ACLU, and Artists For Peace. And her support for holistic organic causes needed for the sustenance of every community.


LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
Lily Tomlin

COURAGE IN ACTING: [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Brie Larson: Room

BEST FEMALE ACTION STAR
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD: [Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
Alicia Vikander; The Danish Girl

MOMMIE DEAREST WORST SCREEN MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD:



Cate Blanchett: Cinderella

 
 











JUST KIDDING AWARDS [Individual Picks]

*Thrown Under The Bus Award: Girlhood. Goes to the talented cast and team of Girlhood for being made invisible (again) during awards season. Hmm, we wonder why??

Runners-Up:
Effie Gray
The Book Of Negroes
The Keeping Room


*Best Female Images: Fifty Shades Of Grey


*Best Equality Of The Sexes: Leonardo DiCaprio and that Female Bear on top.

*Bond Embracing Maturity Award: James Bond fully embracing mature actresses by casting Monica Bellucci as the oldest Bond Girl, by featuring her on screen for exactly seven minutes.
   
**ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a “bad day.” Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

**JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD:
The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

**KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

CONTACT: Criticalwomen@gmail.com

9/5/15

Suffragette Film Review: The Iron Ladies


While the mass movement for women's voting rights in the United States that reached its most heated moment back in the early 20th century is remembered mostly as a tame affair, apparently the more militant struggle back then in England is barely remembered at all. That is, until now when that one hundred year buried history has been boldly and brilliantly exhumed and brought back to life in the defiant and devastating historical drama, Suffragette.

And in stark contrast to the US where the organized movement was mostly a middle class affair, those fiery female rebels in England were thrust progressively through a combination of oppression and frustration into an explosive battle of the sexes. And fueled in no small part by outright class warfare. Provoked apparently by the rigid British class system, and by England divisively first granting voting rights solely to women of property. Which led to targeting in large part "the sacred ideology of property if we must."

CONTINUE TO READ THE ARTICLE HERE

Prairie Miller

Arts Express, Airing on the WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network and Affiliate Stations. Thursdays 2pm ET on WBAI Radio in NY, and archived and streaming live everywhere at wbai.org.

6/29/15

Arts Express: Kate Winslet's Chaos, The Female Museum Experience

Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington: Huntington is recognized as one of America's finest animaliers, whose naturalistic works helped to bridge the gap between the traditional styles of the 1800s and the abstract styles of the mid-twentieth century. Her prominence also enabled other female artists to succeed.

**Art Corner: A listener guided tour of the National Academy Museum in New York City, and what visitors can discover there. Including images of seemingly spinning clocks, tunnels, the Ebola crisis, and the death of surfaces. Revealing other meanings and stories beneath the surface of things. Cynthia Parsons McDaniel reports.

**A Little Chaos: A conversation with actress Kate Winslet about her latest film channeling French feminism among 17th century royalty, as a determined equal opportunity gardener. While challenging as a character the 'dishonesty, synthetic world, pomp, posturing and ridiculous outfits' of that pretentious elite back then.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

**The Face Of An Angel: British director Michael Winterbottom phones in to Arts Express from Italy to talk about media madness today evoking Dante's dark wood in an existential wilderness, in his latest dramatic feature. Delving into nightmarish tabloid noir, and corporate media monsters as dark magical realism. Along with revisiting reflections on the legacy of his 2006 screen classic, The Road To Guantanamo.

**Poetry Corner: Appalachian movement poet Michael Henson reads from his work. Conjuring the ravages of capitalism and consumerism, Noah's Ark, subways, and the devastating rural oxycodone epidemic in progress - 'an amalgam of Whitmanic vision and intensity.' 

Arts Express, Thursdays 2pm ET: Airing on WBAI Radio in NY 99.5 FM, and streaming live and archived everywhere at wbai.org.

Cynthia Parsons McDaniel covers art and theater for Arts Express, and writes for Shortandsweetnyc.com. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

6/19/15

Arts Express: Mia Wasikowska Talks Madame Bovary, Corsets, Rabbit Holes And Mirrors



**Mia Wasikowska Talks Madame Bovary: A conversation with the actress phoning in from Australia, about her new film adapted from the Flaubert novel. And the art of vanishing magically into the screen personas of literary figures, including as well Jane Eyre and Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, while inhabiting a very different past world. Or is it?

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

ALSO:

**Set Fire To The Stars: Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones, co-stars of this literary film noir touching on the last days of poet Dylan Thomas in America, in an intimate discussion with Arts Express. And what all this may have to do with the beat poets, punk rock, Elijah's journey from Frodo to hero worship, Auden, Blake, McCarthyism, and the radicalization of Thomas by the struggles of the Welsh miners. And, Dylan Thomas as angel, beast or madman - or all of them.

**The World Film Beat:
Professor Dennis Broe reporting on location from Paris, delving into film trends, culturally and politically, currently surfacing in Europe. And connected to themes surrounding capitalist cruelty, the corporate parceling of Yugoslavia, and not so much war is hell, as war is for sale - both on and off screen.

Arts Express, Thursdays 2pm ET: Airing on WBAI Radio in NY 99.5 FM, and streaming live and archived everywhere at wbai.org.

Prairie Miller

4/18/15

Tribeca 2015: A Conversation With Laura Bispuri, Director Of Sworn Virgin



By Liza Bear

New York,, April 18--A notable film seen at Tribeca FF this year is Sworn Virgin, the first feature by Italian director Laura Bispuri, starring Alba Rohrwacher as Hana/Mark in the nuanced, subtly expressive performance that her gender fluid role requires. Bispuri co-wrote the screenplay with Francesca Manieri. No, this is not an Albanian version of Orlando. .A loose adaptation of the contemporary ,novel by Elvira Dones, who is Albanian but writes in Italian, the story is initially set in a toothily ragged mountain region of Albania, a country just a ferry ride across the Adriatic from Italy, and in a remote community whose arcane mores you won't believe.

This highly patriarchal society still subscribes to a Bronze Age code of behaviour known as the Kanun, or canon, among whose principal tenets is the subservience of women in every respect. In order to escape the strictures of female existence in such a society, and as permitted by the Kanun. in exchange for an oath of perpetual celibacy and remaining a virgin, Hana renames herself Mark and for fourteen years iives life as a man, coralling goats, riding horses and shooting rifles, until a signal event makes her question her assumed manhood and escape to Italy.

The following interview with Laura Bispuri was done within the strictures of allotted time; and Bow-Tie proximity. Michael F. Moore interpreted the Italian: film stills courtesy various: thank you. A European co-production by Albania, Germany, Italy, Kosovo and Switzerland. Strand Releasing will distribute domestically after the festival.


Liza Bear produces Cherchez La Femme on Youtube. She also writes for Bomb Magazine. Liza is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.
 

3/30/15

Make-Up As Art: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi Does Marlene Dietrich


 What is Make-Up Art’s Concept

The web has a variety of make-up tutorials that are usually related to the world of fashion and beauty, whereas history of art often is discussed in institutional or technical contexts. Make-Up Art has the goal of combining, for the very first time, these two topics, that apparently seem to be very distant from one another, but that can actually be a source of new synergies. Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi discusses the masterpieces in art history that inspire the make-up creations by Federica Santovecchi. This content intends to unveil worldwide the intrinsic Italian art and style, to create an actual “face to face” between make-up and history of art, with a touch of humour.

How does Make-Up Art stand out from all the other vodcasts?VIoggers usually like to work individually to establish their role as entertainers, often by focusing on a specific single subject matter. This is not the case of Make-Up Art: Chiara and Federica interact with one another to deliver a multidisciplinary content, by combining their two great passions: art and make-up. This female duo, through girl power and self-irony, wants to inform, entertain and inspire creativity within its followers.

Make-Up Art dates back to a serendipitous encounter in New York, between Chiara and Federica who met after ages they had lost touch. Chiara was in town hosting a television show on movies, Arise on Screen, and exhibiting her paintings in Manhattan. Federica instead was taking a year off in the Big Apple, to attend the Fashion Make-Up Artistry course at MUD School and enhance her professional experience internationally.


The two of them met one evening in the Village and that was when their New York adventures began, through art openings, drawbridges, Oscar celebrations (for the Best Foreign film awarded to Sorrentino) and of course many make-up sessions, where Chiara would be Federica’s model. Both their professional destinies brought them back to Italy and, when they met again in their home country, they decided to put into practice their stars and stripes experience, through their Italian touch and all the beauty that the boot-shaped land Chiara likes to define herself as a storyteller, since she works as film critic, screenwriter, filmmaker, visual artist, reporter and columnist for American, British and Italian outlets.

As a journalist she is a member of the Italian Association of Journalists and the Foreign Press Association in New York. The paintings she makes are called Material Puns, since they combine mixed media with wordplay, with references to the Dada movement, ready-made and conceptual art. She is currently a Professor at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan for the course on Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts.

Federica comes from the world of Marketing and Advertising where she started working immediately after she took her degree in Economics at the University of Bologna and her Masters in Marketing and Business Communication in Milan. She developed her skills in a communication agency and then in the telecommunication company Vodafone Group, where she developed her interest in multicultural and international contexts, that triggered her to take a year off around the globe, to cultivate her make-up passion, by attending a Make-Up Artistry course in NYC. Currently she works as a consultant in the field of Marketing and Communication.

Visit Their YouTube Channel Here

For further information contact us at: makeupartcreations@gmail.com

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi writes for King’s Road Magazine, British Foreign Press Association, Filmagazine (Italy), Shockya, PMc Magazine. Chiara is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.

2/19/15

Fifty Shades Of Grey Review: Nude, Un-Plucked And Un-Waxed Cruel Manipulation On Screen


By Monica Castillo

'...Johnson holds onto Anastasia’s bubbly energy and plays with the power dynamics of her character’s troubled relationship. Her body language shifts from shy and insecure to ashamed of her dirty deeds to tapping into her “inner goddess” and confidently rocking her normal-looking body. Johnson is not made up to look like a porn star: we see hair on her legs, untrimmed pubic hair and wearing very little makeup for most of the movie. The audible gasps in my audience over her first nude scene were a sign of how little we see un-plucked and un-waxed women engaging in and enjoying sex.

Unfortunately, Mr. Grey’s Jamie Dornan does not equally rise to the occasion. With a special clause to shade his privates from the camera, Dornan never seems to be at ease with the explicit nature of the movie. He doesn’t relish his character’s highs and lows, leaving the audience to beg for more acting chops. Dornan wears the suit well but sometimes disappears into its folds on the way to becoming America’s next top sex symbol. His distanced energy leaves the bulk of the chemistry to be sparked by Johnson’s ingénue. It's just a tad unsatisfying to watch as he cruelly manipulates her for little to no reward...'

Continue To Read Review Here

Monica Castillo is the Entertainment Reporter for International Business Times. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

So Yun Um Does Sundance 2015


YO! I am back full throttle with my Sundance vlog and this is a real good one! I had the pleasure of going to my first ever Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and it was everything I had expected and more. The combination of the freezing cold, sleepless nights, and lack of warm food really made me feel like I was a wild chicken running around with my head cut off but it was all part of the great experience! I did not go to as many swanky parties but you bet your ass that I got to watch tons of mind-blowing, forward-thinking, and super duper fresh films! I cannot wait for all these films to come out so you can just gorge on the next level of beauty and innovativeness these films have to offer! And in tribute to Sean Baker's Tangerine which was wholly shot on the iPhone 5s (GASP!), I decided to shoot my entire vlog on my iPhone! So LEGGO!

Continue To Read Here

So Yun Um writes for Sosreelthoughts.com and Crome Yellow. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle

All The Wilderness Review: An Intimate Voyage Into Sound, Sorrow And Solitude


By Kaneisha Montague

All the Wilderness simply put, is a remarkable piece of art in every form. The film managed to create a musical beauty behind an intimate topic. A refreshing take on the subject of death; All the Wilderness explores the effect on a family after the passing of a father. There’s a nostalgic feel to this 2015 film, it reignites the importance of sound, and the film is artistically cradled by music. The actors’ commentary is simply complimentary; an art in silent films that other films may find difficult to capture. The scratches of James’ record player spinning old classical music are made important. Every sound is made more present than we are used to experiencing. The previous in it-self, set the tone for a film that gave a redefined meaning to noise.

Carl Sandburg’s poem “Wilderness” plays a pivotal role in the connection between the tales of the wilderness that James’ father used to tell him about and the coming to terms with James’ lost and acceptance of himself. “Each man’s wilderness is his own” his dad used to say.

Leaving behind a wife Abigail Charm (Virginia Madsen) and a coming-of-age son James Charm (Kodi Smit-McPhee), only the mother has seemed to begin to move past the tragedy but she believes her son has not “socially adjusted”. James becomes obsessed with death; documenting the death of everything/everyone around him; from house flies, to birds to his pet hamster Elliott. He worries his mother beyond the point of control, leaving her no choice but to take him to a shrink. James reluctantly attends his sessions with no desire of ever leaving his sarcasm at the door or give way for the doctor to explore his suppressed feelings.

As all coming of age films, a love interest is introduced, there in the shrink’s waiting room, we meet Val. The counterpart to what we have come to know of James; sarcastic and scarred from the past. Val opens up to James about her attempting to commit suicide after the divorce of her parents when she was 11. James fills Val in on the passing of his father. The two bond beyond romantic attraction. Along with his love interest, James meets two street kids Harmon (Evan Ross) and Gunny (Hannah Barefoot) who push him out of his shell and allow him to finally live and experience a more enjoyable type of darkness; alcohol, smoking, late nights, friends etc. James becomes destructive and disrespectful towards his mother, driving a rift between their already corrupted relationship.

Harmon’s friendship with James, we begin to notice, is equally beneficial. Harmon, a secret pianist, lets James into his musical world, which in turn sets Harmon free just as Harmon does for James. The two are torn apart when Harmon is caught kissing Val. Upset and confused, James returns to the shell of himself. Almost as if he’d witnessed death twice. With nowhere else to release, he finally confides in his shrink who then reveals that he himself knew of James’ father before he died. James is shocked by the fact that the shrink also adds that James is nothing like his father.

The film silently withholds the fact that James’ father committed suicide by jumping off of a city bridge. What’s even more chilling is James finally admitting to his mother that he witnessed the entire scene. James revisits the bridge and has finally come to the point in his journey where he is ready to accept and carry his father’s “wilderness”. “I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me.”

This riveting, must-see coming of age film with a musical twist on the intimate subject of suicide is well worth the watch. Indulge.

Kaneisha Montague is a filmmaker based in Metro Atlanta. She is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.

2/11/15

Girlhood: Journey Stripped Of Culture And Unique Experience


By Kaneisha Montague

Celine Sciamma’s "Bande De Filles" or "Girlhood" is an enduring but troubling coming of age film. Ironically released along the same time as the popular, longitudinal coming of age film "Boyhood" the two are far from similar. Marieme (Karidja Toure) stars as the young French girl of African descent, struggling to find her footing. The opening scene of two all-girl football teams playing against each other followed by a group walk home and separation, leads the viewer to believe the story is in fact about the comaraderie of this Band of Girls/ Girl Gang. Marieme, once separated from her friends during the walk home, immediately entraps us within her separate world. We are then introduced to her love interest, and the several dynamics of her single parent home. It appears as though Marieme is the eldest girl sibling, while her older brother has assumed the position of father and strikes fear into his younger sisters. Marieme’s mother is out of the house throughout the majority of the film, working as a janitor and forcing Marieme to be the caretaker of the house and the eye of admiration for her younger sister.

While attempting to find her footing, Sciamma brings us to a pivotal point in Marieme’s life. Complications with grades push Marieme into her only other option; vocational school. While upset with the path she must take, she simultaneously meets a group of troubled girls that consider themselves bullies. When accepted with open arms, Marieme takes a turn for the worst and begins to mirror the personality and acts of the group leader. From fights, to drug distribution, to prostitution, the main character shifts the term "Girl Gang" or "Band of Girls" to a more literal definition of the phrase. Marieme lives in careless moments, and fully invests in pockets of happiness that she shares with her new "Girl Gang." Though we can clearly see that Marieme has accepted her new troubled life, a lot of moments are left empty and unfulfilled. The viewer can assume and anticipate the outcome of a scene, but Sciamma neither brings scenes to complete fruition nor provides them with closure. Intimate scenes are bare of true emotion. Emotional connections are acted out, but not translated well enough for the viewer to feel it.

Though attempting to be relatable, the film strips just about every aspect of culture and unique experience from the audience to enjoy. Marieme speaks French and her family appears to be of African descent, we can only assume and therefore an opaque understanding of time and place is created. Americanized music, clothing and conversations prevent the viewer from truly journeying with the main character. Sciamma’s approach on translating this idea of "Girlhood" is smothered by modernized scenes and an overly commercialized storyline.

It would have been great to see what “Girlhood” truly means and feels like for a French speaking young woman of African descent.

Kaneisha Montague is a filmmaker based in Metro Atlanta. She is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.

2/7/15

The Berlin Film Festival Report 2015

WFCC Member Tar Karajica Covers Berlin 2015 For Variety




Continue To Read Coverage Here


Tara Karajica writes for Variety, Screen International, Festivalists and The Film Prospector. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

1/20/15

Dissing DuVernay: The Lessons Of Selma


By Sikivu Hutchinson 

Quote of the Day - John Lithgow - "Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug."

Every child in the U.S. should be required to see Selma for at least two reasons. First, Ava DuVernay’s powerhouse film captures the political complexities and tactical ambiguities that informed civil rights movement organizing; from the behind-the-scenes factionalism among movement organizers to the FBI’s war on activists to the media’s influence on bringing black resistance to Southern terrorism straight into white Middle America’s living rooms. Highlighting the contributions of black women activists and other lesser known unheralded organizers, the film reminds young people that historical change does not spring from the exceptional actions of visionary individuals but from collective action. In this regard, Selma is an important antidote to mainstream portrayals that fixate on Martin Luther King as the sole impetus for the movement.

Second, the lessons of Selma itself are relevant to DuVernay’s “omission” from the Academy Awards nomination for Best Director. True to Frederick Douglass’ assertion that “power concedes nothing without demand” the snub of DuVernay is criminal but of course not unprecedented. Just as sustained organized action brought down Southern apartheid so must sustained organized action be directed at Hollywood’s billion dollar White Boy’s club. Each year, people of color flock to inane comedies and big budget action flicks in record numbers (Latinos have the highest film going rates and the lowest rates of representation in mainstream film). In the few theater chains that deign to operate in , we watch white people play out themes of heroism, romance, swashbuckling, leadership and political intrigue underwritten by multinational corporations which rarely endorse people of color portrayals that don’t hinge on minstrelsy. Given this, why would the Academy, helmed by a cabal of older white men like the Tea Party, give a brilliant fierce black woman like DuVernay its imprimatur for disrupting one of white supremacy’s most sacred preserves? Shaming white Hollywood into “validating” a few token nominees of color every five years does nothing to address its apartheid structure; refusing to support its lily white fantasies at the local multiplex does.

In Selma, DuVernay alludes to the limits of dismantling de jure segregation vis-à-vis de facto segregation. Toward the end of his life, King confronted economic injustice and the intractability of capitalist exploitation. Moving from “reform to revolution”, his final push for the Poor People’s Campaign underscored the divide between ending Jim Crow voting rights restrictions versus redressing deeply embedded structural race and class inequities. In some respects, DuVernay’s exclusion from the film industry’s white male director canon exemplifies the elusiveness of the latter. While white Hollywood post-Charlie Hebdo recently patted itself on the back at the Golden Globes for supporting free speech and the increase in diverse portrayals of (white) women, conditions for women of color are still in neo-Aunt Jemima territory. Critiquing this civil liberties’ love fest, black feminist writer Britney Cooper slammed white Hollywood’s empty activist rhetoric as it ignored the Black Lives Matter movement...

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE HERE

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of Blackfemlens.org, and she is a commentator on Pacifica's KPFK Radio in Los Angeles. Sikivu is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

1/16/15

Oscar Noms 2014: WFCC Members Weigh In - Where Are All The Women?

Claudia Puig, Film Critic at USA Today:
We still have a very long way to go in terms of parity between the genders, and, of course, among different cultures and races in Hollywood, just as we do as a country. When I didn't see Ava DuVernay's name among the best director nominees, my heart sank. Her nomination would have gone a long way to inspire young women, and especially young women of color, to pursue filmmaking as a career. I was truly hoping not only to see a woman burst into the all-boys club, but an African-American woman. That would have indicated some progress in a male-dominated industry. When Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win a best director Oscar in 2009 for The Hurt Locker it felt like perhaps Hollywood was stepping up and opening the doors to its inner sanctum. But that was 6 years ago. I hate to think of her as the token female director Oscar winner.

Having said that, I was heartened to see that Selma was among the best picture nominees. Perhaps fellow directors did not think DuVernay was enough of a seasoned veteran to make it into the elite ranks of director nominees? In general, women behind the camera are given short shrift in Hollywood, so it's not very surprising that they account for a small minority of the overall Oscar nominees in categories like writing, directing and editing. Their presence behind the camera in mainstream films is more rare than in the independent film world, so that accounts for why more creative women pursue the indie avenue, or go into television.


Thelma Adams, Film Editor at ZEALnyc: 
First of all, I welcome more voices to the discussion. Only a few years ago, we women bothered by the bias in Hollywood and at the Oscars were howling more or less alone. Now, the status of women in Hollywood, and the imbalance of the Awards has become a common topic. While we can decry the snub of Ava DuVernay as a Best Director nominee, even as her movie Selma got its rightful place among the Best Picture nominees. Another thing that strikes me is the Best Actor and Actress categories. There has been a lot of talk about the weakness in the potential actress nominees and the incredibly competitive actor category. This is totally symptomatic, not of actors being superior but of male actors having better opportunities and more challenging roles.

If the two categories merged into one, the men would dominate. Perhaps Julianne Moore and Marion Cotillard would compete this year but who knows. So, Amy Adams and Jennifer Aniston fell off the nominees but each and every one of the male contenders -- Benedict Cumberbatch, Bradley Cooper, Steve Carell, Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton -- deserve to be feted. So many were left out: Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hardy, David Oyelowo to name just three. This is not a measure of acting talent, male versus female, but a chasm in opportunity. More leading roles for women where they get to carry the narrative will result in a more muscular and competitive Best Actress race.

Continue To Read Article Here