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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WHERE HAVE ALL THE STRONG WOMEN GONE (Apparently to TV, though not to the AFI)

Two interesting articles in the LA Times.
One is an excellent article by Mary McNamara as to the different ways women characters are portrayed in movies as opposed to television (deftly called the Shrew versus Shrewd). I know what she means. I often read romantic comedies for contests and a production company and instead of sympathizing with them, I often want to say, isn't it time for you to get a life rather than revolving your whole existence around the lack of a man in it. McNamara also does a good job of historical perspective by reminding people that knocking women off their pedestal is nothing new. This brought Katherine Hepburn back from being box office poison with The Philadelphia Story and was especially a common theme about women in film after WWII in which society wanted women to stop working and go back to being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.
Patrick Goldstein in The Big Picture wrote an article about the AFI which seems to be spot on. I remember when the AFI annual award began and I always used to look forward to it. It was one of the most intelligent awards show on television recognizing some of the most remarkable people in show business. But it lost its lustre as the honorees got younger and seemed to be chosen for ratings sake. Goldstein has a great point: if the purpose of the AFI award is to honor those who have contributed to the art of cinema in significant ways, then why haven't any artists other than directors and actors been singled out: where are the awards that should go to writers, cinematographers and composers. And while we're on the subject, costume and set designers, editors, etc. The Oscars often aren't much better, but they have given special awards to editors and set designers (and in their defense, most of the people mentioned by Goldstein that are overlooked by AFI have already won an Oscar). However, he fails to mention that women are rarely rewarded by the AFI which has been heavily skewed toward men.

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