Thanks to the opportunities created by Peak TV, the once-elusive female gaze is beginning to emerge on the small screen. Below, directors, writers and producers reflect on the female gaze in their work and the challenges of working in a medium in which the male perspective has reigned for so long.
Melissa Rosenberg, creator, “Jessica Jones”
On not writing “female characters:” “It’s not like Jessica is a ‘female detective’; she’s a detective. When it’s a guy, you don’t say ‘male doctor.’ That’s really how I approach this. Certainly, her character is informed by her gender. You go through the world as a woman, you have a different experience, but I never approached it as ‘this is a female character.'”
Rashida Jones, executive producer-director, “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On”
On absorbing the male gaze: “We all have this internalized, unconscious bias because we live in a world that has primarily been seen through a male gaze. So we have also inherited a lot of that, and it’s really hard to break that habit. We live in a patriarchy and it’s really hard to escape that.”
Emma Frost, showrunner, “The White Princess”
On the male gaze: “The audience ought to be able to identify with a protagonist of either gender as long as that character is written as a human being. The problem has been, historically, the characters that have been constructed as human have always been the male characters. Female characters have been constructed as man’s other, a problem to be solved, a trophy to be won. Everything is about showing off the male prowess in relation to the woman.”
Jennie Snyder Urman, creator, “Jane the Virgin”
On objectifying men: “If we objectify anyone, we kind of make fun of ourselves for it. The humor is that we’re doing it to the men because it’s so often done to women. If we’re doing a slow-motion shot over [hunky male lead] Rafael’s body, it feels jarring because that’s something you normally see done to a woman. You’re so bombarded with what men think of beauty.”
On hiring women to direct 75% of this season’s episodes: “I always talk to the directors and I say this show goes through Jane. Covering Jane and how she reacts to everyone else is as important as what everyone else is saying because it’s filtered through her. … I hired the people who I felt understood that the most. A lot of them happened to be women.”
Moira Buffini, co-creator, “Harlots”
On sex scenes: “We feel a great responsibility towards actresses — and actors too. It is so intimate and invasive. You’ve got to be really careful and respectful of people. With female directors, we sort of knew without having to have the conversation that they would understand that delicacy.”
Ava DuVernay, creator, “Queen Sugar”
On the right way to think about women behind the camera: ”I can’t say what these women brought based on their gender. I just know that women have not historically had the opportunity to bring anything. The fact that they’re there and they’re bringing it is the story.”
“Bruising for Besos” looks at an abusive lesbian relationship
If you’ve watched more than just “the classics,” you know that some lesbian films need a minute or 20 to find their groove. That’s certainly the case for new film Bruising for Besos, the first feature-length effort from writer-director Adelina Anthony, who also stars in the movie. If for nothing else, you should consider watching this film for what makes it unique: the LA Latina lesbians at its center, and its willingness to tackle domestic violence in the lesbian community.
Anthony plays Yoli, a butch Xicana lesbian who’s as playful with her art as she is with her women. She may not be the best girlfriend, but she is a good friend. Lucky for her, because it’s at her surprise birthday party that she meets and falls for Daña (Carolyn Zeller), an intriguing Puerto Rican nurse. But Daña’s heard of Yoli’s reputation and she’s not having any of it. At first.
While Yoli comes off very strong with the flirting (like really laying it on thick), eventually she does wear Daña down. After an intense car makeout session that a cop interrupts (ugh, buzzkill!), they end up in bed together, as they will multiple times throughout the film. This definitely isn’t a movie that shies away from passionate lesbian sex scenes, even if they don’t necessarily move the story forward. Hey, I’m not complaining!
Their chemistry aside, after their first night together, Daña panics. It turns out she’s really religious and has a lot of issues around shame. Yet for some reason, she thinks she and Yoli can just be friends. Yoli’s willing to go along with idea, no doubt because she thinks she can change Daña’s mind. And she does–at least momentarily.
By this point, Yoli is falling for Daña, but she hasn’t completely lost her old ways. For instance, there’s her hot new coworker who constantly flirts with her, her ex who’s still somewhat in the picture and the woman her friends actually wanted to set her up with at the party. The most complicated of all, however, has got to be Carmela (Natalie Camunas), girlfriend to her best friend, Rani (performance artist D’Lo), and a former flame of hers.
Yoli’s just a complicated person in general, though, which is absolutely understandable given her history. She spent most of her early years in an abusive household, having lived with a father who beat and cheated on her mom. Several of these memories are recreated in the film through Yoli’s puppets, which she’s working on for a competition. But for the audience, they serve a much more important role: they’re a view into a past Yoli is trying to but can’t run away from.
Daña has her own daddy issues, but they’re very different. Her dad’s always been deaf and has long since had a rough go at things. Now older, he has some serious health problems. As a result, Daña’s even more reluctant to come out because of everything he’s been through.
Still, that doesn’t stop her from admitting she’s falling in love with Yoli, or Yoli from doing the same. But there’s a lot of insecurity and jealousy there from both sides and things do eventually come to a head.
When Daña’s dad has another health scare and she gets distant, Yoli goes to her, only to find a male nurse at the house. She confronts her somewhat aggressively in tone, but it’s Daña who hits her. In an instant, all that family history races through Yoli’s mind.
Are there apologies? Of course there are. Is the violence only physical? Of course it’s not. Theirs is a volatile relationship, not all that unlike many in our communities. The difference is Bruising for Besos dares to talk about it.
Now, who’s willing to listen?
Source – AfterEllen
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Jessica Chastain, Juliette Binoche, Freida Pinto, Queen Latifah & More Launch Production Company To Help Female Empowerment In TV And Film
By Anita Busch
February 24, 2016 3:29pm
A new, nonprofit organization created to finance and produce films, documentaries, TV and other forms of media dedicated to the empowerment of women has been launched with a mission to create content that will change perceptions of female stereotypes. On the advisory board of the company, named We Do It Together, are Jessica Chastain, Juliette Binoche, Freida Pinto, Queen Latifah, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke and actress Ziyi Zhang, to name a few.
The move comes after the revelation last fall that the The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was interviewing dozens of female directors about the discrimination they face in both film and television. Women currently receive only 16% of the episodic TV directing jobs, and last year directed less than 5% of the major studio movie releases.
We Do It Together looks to change this. They say they will raise capital from grants, governments, corporate sponsors, and individual donations to invest in the production of films, proceeds from which will be reinvested in the company to create a self-sustaining organization prepared to invest in additional films. The first film through this new company will be announced at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The board also consists of such creative talent as male director Hany Abu-Assad; A United Kingdom director Amma Asante; The Diary Of A Teenage Girl director, writer and actress Marielle Heller; City Of God director Katia Lund; Elles director Małgorzata Szumowska; actress, producer and writer Alysia Reiner; Henry Louis Gates; and Wadjda director Haifaa Al Mansour.
The board will be responsible for collaborating on the slate of films they will produce. They also plan to start local chapters to make regional impacts.
The organization’s launch comes as the company readies itself for its first public speaker platform, with We Do It Together scheduled to participate at the United Nations’ 3rd Annual Power of Collaboration Global Summit on February 29th. Speaking to the topic of “A Glimpse to Next Stop: Conversations With Men (And Women) in Hollywood,” board member and founder Chiara Tilesi will be presenting the new international non-profit production company model and discussing the organization’s mission of challenging the status quo, producing movies by women and about women, while changing deep-seated perceptions about female stereotypes.
Sitting on the board of directors of We Do It Together are producer Albert Berger; DDA Partner Dana Archer; The Gersh Agency’s Sandra Lucchesi; Mosaic manager Paul Nelson; Producer-Director Carol Polakoff; Primetime Emmy-winning producer Shelby Stone; producer and philanthropist Tilesi; and Septembers of Shiraz writer and producer Hanna Weg.
Article Source – Deadline