The Movies I Should Rewatch Now That I’m Not 14

I have some residual trauma from A Clockwork Orange.

I was around 14 when my fascination with the movies began. At the time I thought my somewhat obsessive movie watching ways would make me stand out from the average teenager. (I would also carry The New Yorker around with me in high school. But that’s a different story.) I realize now that some of the movies I watched during these years were not great choices for an impressionable teenager. For instance, I watched Deliverance with my sister when I was around 14, maybe younger. My sister eventually kicked me out of the room but not before I was rightfully creeped out by Deliverance. When I rewatched Deliverance in college, I suddenly realized how much of this movie I blocked from my memory.

Like that small sodomy incident.

I saw plenty of movies way before I had any real knowledge about cinema and definitely before I could grasp some of the deeper concepts. (That kind of sounds dirty. You get my point.) And just because I was a somewhat precocious kid, doesn’t mean I was the most astute observer. I didn’t always pick up on subtext. Some movies were traumatizing. I don’t remember others and if they come up in conversation, I pretend to have seen them. (“Space Odyssey! Yeah, Hal!”)

So I’ve come up with a list of movies I know I have seen and should probably revisit. Hopefully I’ll understand them this time around.

Continue reading “The Movies I Should Rewatch Now That I’m Not 14”

The Six Movies I Will See This Fall

Happy official first day of fall! It’s a great day of the year because it is time for good movies (other than Contagion and Drive) to finally hit the theaters. After a rather lackluster summer, I’m armed and ready to hit my local cineplex as often as I can. These are my picks for the movies I will be seeing this fall.

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Birthday Blitz Blogathon: The Movies Are

Last week, I asked for suggestions for 24 movies I had not yet seen but should really watch. The plan is for me to watch these movies and write about them in the 24 days leading up to my birthday. I received a ton of suggestions. Here are the movies.

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The Katharine Hepburn Performances I Love

Today would be Katharine Hepburn’s birthday 104th. In honor of my favorite actress, here are clips from some of her performances I love and consistently watch.

Susan Vance – Bringing Up Baby (1939)

Rose Sayer – The African Queen (1951)

Terry Randall – Stage Door (1937)

Jane Hudson – Summertime (1955)

Tracy Lord – The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Continue reading “The Katharine Hepburn Performances I Love”

The Female Directors I Love

A Twitter conversation last night with Anna, who blogs at Defiant Success,  got me thinking: who are my favorite female directors?

Having studied film at a women’s college, a significant number of the courses I took centered on women’s cinema. Women experimental filmmakers dominated my course of study. (I can talk your ear off about Marie Menken, Joyce Wieland, Marjorie Kellor, Peggy Ahwesh, but I will spare you.) I was exposed to everything from the MadCat Women’s International Film Festival to the work of German feminist filmmakers to a weekend well-spent at the Anthology Film Archives. This has all come together to help me truly appreciate the work of female directors who are often cast aside by the system.

I always found it painfully ironic that Alice Guy-Blaché directed the first narrative film, La Fée aux Choux,  in 1896. She directed more than 100 films, was the first woman to own and run a film studio, but her impact on film history was largely forgotten until recently.

Guy-Blaché’s career is representative of something greater. Female directors typically have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to get their films made. This has changed only slightly in the last 20 years, even as more and more female directors gain international recognition and even Academy Awards. Women are still most likely to be found working in the independent and avant-garde film circles, where there is a system – so to speak – established that makes it easier for female directors to get films made. Because female directors often work on the edge of the mainstream film industry, their films are sharper, feminist critiques on society than seen in most films.

Here is a list of female directors whose work I always seek out, along with one of their films I recommend.

Chantal Akerman – Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Andrea Arnold – Red Road (2006)
Susanne Bier – After the Wedding (2006)
Jane Campion – Sweetie (1989)
Julie Dash – Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Maya Deren – Meshes of an Afternoon (1943)/ At Land (1944)
Doris Dörrie – Cherry Blossoms (2008)
Su Friedrich – Sink or Swim (1990)
So Yong Kim – In Between Days (2006)
Courtney Hunt – Frozen River (2008)
Samira Makhmalbaf – Blackboards (2000)
Deepa Mehta – Fire (1996)
Mira Nair – Salaam Bombay (1988)
Sally Potter – Orlando (1992)
Kelly Reichardt – Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Helma Sanders-Brahms – Germany Pale Mother (1980)
Agnes Varda – Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Margarethe von Trotta – The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975)

I could keep going on and on with this list. Who is your favorite female director? Comment away!