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Muriel Box: Britain’s most prolific female director you've never heard of

Her 13 features from the 50s and 60s explored new ways of representing women on screen. Now, two new major retrospectives aim to introduce her work to modern audiences

‘It’s so odd,” said the 86-year-old Muriel Box in 1991, the year she died, “why they can’t have the grace to say: ‘We know we have all the good opportunities as men to direct and do everything.’” In women, she said, the film industry “hasn’t any confidence at all … They never say to women: Let us try and see what she’s done.”

Box knew of what she spoke. Fifty-four years since her final film, she remains Britain’s most prolific female director. In the 1950s, she strived and scrimped, surmounted institutional prejudice and ill-health to make her 13 features. Now, they are being seriously re-examined, with major retrospectives at this year’s San Sebastián and Lumière festivals. Audiences are finding
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

An Unexpected Love to open San Sebastian by Amber Wilkinson - 2018-08-02 17:55:23

Mercedes Morán and Ricardo Darín in An Unexpected Love, which will open San Sebastian Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival

Argentinian film An Unexpected Love (El Amor Menos Pensado) has been announced as the opening film for this year's San Sebastian Film Festival. The film, which will vie for the Golden Shell in competition at the 66th edition of the festival, marks the directorial debut of Juan Vera, who has previously co-produced films including Zama and Carancho.

The film stars Mercedes Morán and Ricardo Darín as a couple who are facing a relationship crisis after 25 years of marriage.

Darín is a long-time attender of the festival and was awarded the Donostia for lifetime achievement last year. Morán also appears in The Angel, which screens in the festival's Pearls section.

The festival has also announced the full slate of the Muriel Box retrospective. It will feature all 28 films written and directed by the Surrey-born filmmaker,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Jane Fonda to receive France's prestigious Lumière Award

Institut Lumière will also fete late UK filmmaker Muriel Box at 10th edition of festival.

France’s Institut Lumière will honour Us actress Jane Fonda with its Lumière Award at the 10th edition of its annual cinema heritage festival, taking place October 13-21 this year.

She will be the second woman to receive the honorary award after French actress Catherine Deneuve. Other recipients include Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Gérard Depardieu and Ken Loach.

As well as showcasing a selection of key films from Fonda’s career, the festival will also screen Susan Lacy’s bio-documentary Jane Fonda In Five Acts,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Jane Fonda to Receive the 2018 Lumière Prize

  • Variety
Jane Fonda to Receive the 2018 Lumière Prize
Jane Fonda will receive this year’s Lumière Award at the 10th Lumière Festival in Lyon, France.

Describing the Oscar-winning actress, festival director Thierry Fremaux said Fonda is “a feminist, activist, and she remains a star.”

The festival said it was honoring Fonda for an “acting career that has led her from Sidney Pollack to Arthur Penn, from René Clément to Roger Vadim; for her willingness to embody fierce independence from a young age …” It also stressed the actress’ work as “a committed, life-long activist, ahead of her time as a vanguard of ideals,” calling her a “symbol of struggles for freedom, anti-racism and peace” as well as “an international star, an icon spanning several decades of audiences.”

“I am honored to be invited to the Lumière Festival in Lyon,” Fonda said, adding that she was “over the moon” upon hearing the news that she would receive the award.

As part of its tribute,
See full article at Variety »

San Sebastian to celebrate work of Muriel Box by Amber Wilkinson - 2018-02-09 10:47:09

Muriel Box will have a retrospective dedicated to her in San Sebastian Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival The San Sebastian Film Festival has announced it is dedicating one of its retrospectives this year to British writer and director Muriel Box.

Outlining the programme strand, the festival said of the filmmaker, who died in 1991 "As was the case of North America’s Dorothy Arzner – to whom the San Sebastian Festival dedicated a retrospective in 2014 – and Ida Lupino, reviewing her filmography today seems essential in establishing a feminist discourse and vindicating the important role played by women filmmakers in different contexts and cinematographies. Despite enjoying a certain prestige among cinephiles, there are very few studies of her works and barely any mention is made of her in general film histories."

Born on 22 September 1905 in New Malden, Surrey, as Violette Muriel Baker, she started her film career in continuity. In 1935 she married the writer Sydney Box,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

San Sebastian to celebrate work of Muriel Box by Amber Wilkinson - 2018-02-09 10:47:09

Muriel Box will have a retrospective dedicated to her in San Sebastian Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival The San Sebastian Film Festival has announced it is dedicating one of its retrospectives this year to British writer and director Muriel Box.

Outlining the programme strand, the festival said of the filmmaker, who died in 1991 "As was the case of North America’s Dorothy Arzner – to whom the San Sebastian Festival dedicated a retrospective in 2014 – and Ida Lupino, reviewing her filmography today seems essential in establishing a feminist discourse and vindicating the important role played by women filmmakers in different contexts and cinematographies. Despite enjoying a certain prestige among cinephiles, there are very few studies of her works and barely any mention is made of her in general film histories."

Born on 22 September 1905 in New Malden, Surrey, as Violette Muriel Baker, she started her film career in continuity. In 1935 she married the writer Sydney Box,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Oscars 2018: Will Greta Gerwig, Emily V. Gordon or Vanessa Taylor be 1st woman in 10 years to win Best Original Screenplay?

Oscars 2018: Will Greta Gerwig, Emily V. Gordon or Vanessa Taylor be 1st woman in 10 years to win Best Original Screenplay?
The Academy Awards have every reason to boast about their diversity and inclusion of women this year. Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), Emily V. Gordon (“The Big Sick”) and Vanessa Taylor (“The Shape of Water”) are among the nominees for Best Original Screenplay. However, women have been drastically underrepresented among winners, and no woman has won either writing category in 10 years.

To date only 16 women have ever won an Oscar for writing, starting with Frances Marion, who won Best Original Story for “The Big House” (1930) and “The Champ” (1931). Then Muriel Box became the first woman to win Best Original Screenplay when she prevailed with her co-writer and husband Sydney Box for “The Seventh Veil” (1945).

But you have to fast-forward another 46 years before any woman won this category solo: Callie Khouri for her classic screenplay for “Thelma & Louise” (1991). Two years later, Jane Campion would also take home Original Screenplay for “The Piano
See full article at Gold Derby »

Oscars 2018: Kumail Nanjiani (‘The Big Sick’) would make history as the first Asian writer to win

Oscars 2018: Kumail Nanjiani (‘The Big Sick’) would make history as the first Asian writer to win
Kumail Nanjiani was best known as a stand-up comedian and one of the stars of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” But he took that classic advice to “write what you know” literally and penned “The Big Sick” with his wife Emily V. Gordon about how they met and fell in love, and how in the midst of that she fell gravely ill. Now the couple is nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and if “The Big Sick” wins not only would it be a fairy-tale ending for the pair, but Nanjiani would make history as the first person of Asian descent to win for writing.

Hanif Kureishi, who like Nanjiani is of Pakistani descent, made history as the first Asian writer nominated for Best Original Screenplay for “My Beautiful Laundrette” (1986). Then Indian-born M. Night Shyamalan revolutionized storytelling with his original screenplay for “The Sixth Sense” (1999) and reaped a nomination 13 years later.
See full article at Gold Derby »

Newly Launched BFI Filmography Reveals Stark Gender Disparity in UK Film

Jodie Whittaker, one of the BFI Filmography’s most prolific actresses, in “Adult Life Skills

Today the BFI introduced the BFI Filmography, a complete, living record of all the 10,000-and-counting UK films released since 1911. While the resource is, as the BFI describes, “a treasure trove of new information,” it is also a revealing account of the pronounced gender inequality present in UK movies, both on and offscreen.

Among other issues, the filmography is plagued with gender stereotypes. The BFI found that the four character types women are most likely to portray are prostitutes, housekeepers, nurses, and receptionists. Of course, that’s when women are onscreen at all. As the filmography shows, the past century hasn’t featured much change in opportunity for female actors: women comprised 31 percent of film casts in 1913 and, so far, represent 30 percent of the casts in 2017.

Overall, female actors tend to work less than their male counterparts. For example, the most prolific male actor working today is Michael Caine, who has made 70 films to date. The most prolific actress still working is Judi Dench, who has made 41 films.

As for women in behind-the-scenes roles, the BFI Filmography includes only 23 projects with a majority-female crew, which amounts to about one percent. Just seven percent of the films made since 2000 were made by a majority-female crew. As one would expect, the number of women working on film crews has increased over the past 100 years — but the rate of change is still frustratingly slow. Women accounted for three percent of film crews in 1913, and by the early 2000s that number had grown to 27 percent. Women comprise 34 percent of this year’s film crews.

Women helmed only 4.5 percent of the BFI filmography and, like their onscreen counterparts, female directors tend to work much less than men. With 13 movies, Muriel Box (“Rattle of a Simple Man,” “The Piper’s Tune”) is the filmography’s most prolific female director. Maurice Elvey (“The Suicide Club,” “Love in a Wood”) is the most prolific male director with 151 films. That’s right: Elvey made over 11 times as many films as Box.

Director of Photography is the crew role that features the largest gender gap. Women DoPs have shot just 1.3 percent of UK films. With eight films, Nina Kellgren (“Young Soul Rebels”) is the female DoP with the most work experience.

The gender disparity of the BFI Filmography is disheartening of course, but it could also be a springboard for reform in the UK film industry — and not just for women’s representation. The lack of racial diversity in UK movies is also startling: 59 percent of the last decade’s films featured no black actors. As the BFI stated: “Whilst the BFI Filmography launches with a detailed look at gender, it is the intention to continue to build on the data, to provide a greater understanding of representation on and off screen.” Here’s hoping that studios really consider the BFI Filmography and decide that the next 100 years of cinema will be a better, more inclusive place.

Some additional stats from the filmography are below, courtesy of the BFI. Go to the BFI Filmography website to look through the new resource and find out more.

Most prolific women actors of each decade 1960–2017

1960s

Marianne Stone — 62 films

1970s

Marianne Stone — 37 films

1980s

Liz Smith — 14 films

1990s

Sadie Frost — 10 films

2000s

Shirley Henderson — 18 films

2010s

Kate Dickie — 13 films

Jodie Whittaker — 12 films

Most prolific women actors (still working)

Judi Dench — 41 films

Maggie Smith — 40 films

Vanessa Redgrave — 40 films

Sylvia Syms — 38 films

Liz Fraser — 37 films

Joan Collins — 37 films

Honor Blackman — 36 films

Jane Carr — 34 films

Julie Walters — 34 films

Helen Mirren — 33 films

4 Characters women are Most likely to play (when name/gender is unspecified)

Prostitute — 94% cast as women

Housekeeper — 91% cast as women

Nurse — 88% cast as women

Receptionist — 80% cast as women

4 Characters women are Least likely to play (when name/gender is unspecified)

Police Inspector — 0% cast as women

Police Sergeant — 0% cast as women

Steward — 0% cast as women

Taxi Driver — 0% cast as women

Most prolific women directors

Muriel Box — 13 films

Christine Edzard — 7 films

Gurinder Chadha — 7 films

Sally Potter — 7 films

Wendy Toye — 6 films

Mira Nair — 6 films

Penny Woolcock — 5 films

Beeban Kidron — 5 films

Debbie Isitt — 5 films

Mary McGuckian — 5 films

Newly Launched BFI Filmography Reveals Stark Gender Disparity in UK Film was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Paul Rogers obituary

Actor who played many major Shakespearean roles on the stage

Few actors played as many major Shakespearean roles as did Paul Rogers, a largely forgotten and seriously underrated performer, who has died aged 96. It was as though he was barnacled in those parts, undertaken at the Old Vic in the 1950s, by the time he played his most famous role, the vicious paterfamilias Max in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Aldwych theatre in 1965 (and filmed in 1973).

Staunch, stolid and thuggish, with eyes that drilled through any opposition, Rogers's Max was a grumpy old block of granite, hewn on an epic scale, despite the flat cap and plimsolls – horribly real. Peter Hall's production for the Royal Shakespeare Company was monumental; everything was grey, chill and cheerless in John Bury's design, set off firstly by a piquant bowl of green apples and then by the savage acting.

The Homecoming
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Paul Rogers obituary

Actor who played many major Shakespearean roles on the stage

Few actors played as many major Shakespearean roles as did Paul Rogers, a largely forgotten and seriously underrated performer, who has died aged 96. It was as though he was barnacled in those parts, undertaken at the Old Vic in the 1950s, by the time he played his most famous role, the vicious paterfamilias Max in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Aldwych theatre in 1965 (and filmed in 1973).

Staunch, stolid and thuggish, with eyes that drilled through any opposition, Rogers's Max was a grumpy old block of granite, hewn on an epic scale, despite the flat cap and plimsolls – horribly real. Peter Hall's production for the Royal Shakespeare Company was monumental; everything was grey, chill and cheerless in John Bury's design, set off firstly by a piquant bowl of green apples and then by the savage acting.

The Homecoming
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Power women of the 1950s: Muriel and Betty Box

In her new book Rachel Cooke re-examines the 1950s through 10 women who pioneered in their careers. In this extract she tells the stories of sisters-in-law Muriel and Betty Box, two prominent women in the British film industry

Until recently, anyone who wanted to see the film To Dorothy a Son had to lock themselves deep in the bowels of the British Film Institute off Tottenham Court Road, London, and watch it on an old Steenbeck editing machine. A little-known comedy from 1954, To Dorothy is no one's idea of a classic. It has an infuriating star in Shelley Winters, a creaky screenplay by Peter Rogers (later the producer of the Carry On series) and a set that looks as if it is on loan from a local amateur dramatics society.

We are in the home of Tony (John Gregson) and his baby-faced wife, Dorothy (Peggy Cummins). Dorothy is heavily pregnant, and confined to bed.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Wendy Toye obituary

Dancer who became a choreographer, actor and director for stage and screen

As a dancer, Wendy Toye, who has died aged 92, was a child prodigy. Born in Hackney, east London, the daughter of a bristle merchant, she had made her first public appearance at the Royal Albert Hall by the age of four. Aged nine, she choreographed a ballet at the London Palladium and also won the women's prize, dancing the Charleston, at a ball organised by the theatrical manager Cb Cochran and judged by Fred Astaire and Florenz Ziegfeld among others. The men's prize was won by Lew Grade.

She was always grateful for the advice she received from her tutors, including Ruby Ginner, Ninette de Valois and Anton Dolin, and regretted that when she reached the next stage of her career – choreography and direction – there were no teachers. She had to learn as she went along.

During the 1930s,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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