3 items from 2010
Myna Joseph, one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces” in 2008, is attending the Sundance Directors Lab with her feature, My Favorite Nightmare. Here is how her project is described: ” A willful teenager, pregnant with her cousin’s child, travels to New York for an abortion, only to discover that her unpredictable father has followed her.” Below, she discusses working with advisors Joan Darling and Ed Harris as well as her actors at the Lab. Actors can be elusive, magical creatures, and seem at times to harbor secrets from another universe. I don’t always understand how they do what they do—I just know I need them to do it. I coax, prod and poke until I get what I need. Understanding what makes a scene »
In the mid-'70s, when women (among them Claudia Weill, Joan Micklin Silver, Joan Darling) were getting the chance to direct mainstream movies, Pauline Kael cautioned against expecting great things right away. Filmmakers needed a chance to learn and develop, she said, and there was always a chance they might not, or might simply become proficient hacks. It didn't matter, she was quoted as saying, whether there was a king or a queen on top of the garbage heap.
Daphne Merkin's profile of Nancy Meyers in the New York Times Magazine a few weeks back was an attempt to claim that a Garbage Queen was a step forward. The trouble with the piece, as with almost every plight-of-women-in-film article, is that the relentless focus on Hollywood winds up saying that the women directors working outside the mainstream don't exist.
The institutional sexism that still cripples Hollywood is appalling. When Mira Nair »
- Charles Taylor
Like the rest of us, critics like to be taken seriously, and so post-teen romantic comedies like Marc Webb's "(500) Days of Summer" can have a tough time receiving top-shelf adjectives. It's safer to hold high an austere import or socially-conscious "issue" drama. The problem is, for all of its borrowings, there hasn't been a movie quite like Webb's in a very long time, if ever.
"(500) Days of Summer" shimmies through a delicate life-passage terrain few movies have explored with intelligence -- Joan Darling's "First Love" (1977) comes to mind, and a great Korean film still to see the light of day here, Hur Jin-ho's "One Fine Spring Day" (2001) -- and does it with what seems to be an inexhaustible gas tank of invention, brio, naturalistic wit and love.
It's this last thing, love, that fills the movie up like a zeppelin -- love for its characters and for tale-telling »
- Michael Atkinson
3 items from 2010
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