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Article – Women In Cinema


Posted December 21, 2015 by

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Women In Cinema

If you’re a woman, or a sensitive guy, you’ll notice that a large majority of movies have male protagonists. Regardless of the subject matter, women often appear as supporting characters, very much the way women are being treated by society. Yet, the most awarded actor, is an actress. Katherine Hepburn received four Academy Awards in her career. So why is it that men, still have more presence in the movies? The answer is simple. Most writers, producers, directors and actors, are men.

You might ask, can’t men write women into their stories? Yes they can and they do, but rarely as the main character. Any which way we look at it, let’s say that men are proud. They want and like to have the upper hand in everything. Most superheroes are men, and except “Wonder Woman” who had her own successful show, the others few female characters are a complement of the strong men around them.

But as time goes by, I find progress in that regard. Ryan Murphy, writer and director of “Glee,” “American Horror Story,” and most recently “Scream Queens,” is either a very open minded writer (man) or a very good and smart writer. If you look at the all teen series of “Glee,” the main character is “Rachel.” By following her life through high school and her strong desire to become a Broadway star she creates “Glee” and motivates other students to join, and at least in season 1, the story is all around her. As the series became so popular, other characters became more centered in the story, but until the end, “Rachel” is the core of the show. In “American Horror Story” Ryan Murphy also chose a woman as the protagonist. Though her character’s name is irrelevant as it changed every season, “Jessica Lange” was the main reason for the series. In the current season “Hotel Cortez,” she has been replaced by the incredible “Lady Gaga.” Mister Murphy knows his women and through them, invites us in the most elaborate world he creates in his series.

As directors goes, most of them are men. We sure have two times Academy Award Winner Kathryn Bigelow, with a very successful female driven movie in “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie is good, but shows a side of women that we are not used to see. And that ‘s why it’s a good movie. But why can’t we see more women on the posters of our local cinema. The truth is because we still use the image of women as a sexual object and not what women re truly. Without women, life wouldn’t be. I’m not saying that, just because they create life. Not only they create it, but they nurture it all the way to the end of their own life. Something a man feels challenged about and therefore, proves his own strength by being the most appealing beast he can be.

In 1997, when “Titanic” came out, I didn’t think I would even see it. My thought was that we knew how it ended, and I had seen the old Titanic movies, and thought nothing could be interesting. But since I am an actor and a film maker, I was curious to see this prowess of engineering. Green screen, mixed with a real size ship, an incredible promising cast, I went and loved it. Yes the story was about the Titanic hitting the iceberg and going down to the bottom of the ocean, but was it? No it wasn’t. It was the journey of that one woman, who was introduced as an old, almost senile lady to in fact reveal the strongest woman of them all. No fear, no greed and

only a thirst for life was making her go.

Though I am a nobody, I am convinced that the great work of actresses such as Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Julia Roberts, Maggie Smith, Melissa McCarthy and many more, will change our world. Not only in cinema, but our world. These women have an immense power because of their career and most of them use it to help other matters, unrelated to movies.

Of course, these contemporary ladies would never have a chance to be who they are, if the Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Dandridge, Natalie Wood, Thelma Ritter, Doris Day and another hundreds of them didn’t fight for their career. Some couldn’t handle the pressure of men running everything, and women being treated like slave workers. Hollywood was a great machine for that type of classification. I am amazed today to see in the end credit of a movie “Scriptgirl” followed by the name of a man. Things have changed but not fast enough when it comes to this type of things. In all my movies, the role of the “Scriptgirl” is replaced by “Production Assistant” or “Script Supervisor” if indeed the job was to supervise the continuity or the line reading during the filming.

Throughout the history of cinema, women have bettered the production of it on many levels. To capture the sound of the actors, a woman, Dorothy Arzner came up with the Boom pole. It’s nothing more than a pole with the mic at the end, and it’s being held over the actors’ heads while they deliver their precious lines. One of my favorite directors was Alfred Hitchcock and what and where would he be without his brilliant unofficial no so secret weapon co writer/wife Alma.

In most of my classes in screenwriting, directing and producing, my students are most often one female for ten males. And even today, in a New York City, I see a huge discrimination. When I assign teams, I always see the reaction of the boys when they have the girl. Their first reaction is to feel like I punished them, though in my mind it’s often the girl that is being punished to have to work with hairless monkeys. But that’s the way film making works. You have to be adaptable and work the best of your abilities with the tools you have. It is also my way of living. Do the best you can with what you have, but open your mind to more possibilities.

My next movie is a short film about vampires fighting their addiction to blood. Most of my team is made of fantastic women that I have worked with on various projects and I know and am sure that the energy and the quality of the film will be highly superior to anything else I’ve written, produced and directed.

I believe in humanity and the evolution of men, but I can’t wait for a true equality.


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    Okay, I’m a woman and I believe this topic is pertinent and very important. As I was reading this, I was already crafting my comment and/or response article but all that disappeared when I read: “vampires fighting their addiction to blood”. What a brilliant concept! 🙂

    Another brilliant concept: The boom pole. I did not know that it was a woman who came up with that. Good to know!

    As for true equality, I eagerly await that day but doubt it will be any time soon. No matter which part of the world you hail from, the film industry is still a man’s world.

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