Hello everyone. Just a quick post to tell you about the latest International Oscar Showdown. The latest instalment reviews the winners from 2012 – comparing The Artist with Iranian film A Separation.
It’s been a real eye-opener writing this series, not least learning about Iran’s stringent film censorship, and how filmmakers from the country rely on metaphor, obfuscation and hyper-reality to get their viewpoints past the censors.
What’s more, filmmakers in Iran frequently face incarceration for breaching these rules of religious propriety. One award-winning director, Mohammad Rasoulof, has been sentenced to a year in prison for “spreading propaganda” against the Islamic State in his recent film There Is No Evil. Rasoulof has been banned from leaving the country or joining any groups or societies for two years.
So it is remarkable that a film like A Separation by fellow Iranian director Asghar Farhadi manages to shine a light on the nation’s frustratingly bureaucratic systems of justice or the needlessly restrictive notions of religious female sanctity.
Anyway, it’s a good movie, and you should watch it.
In a slight change of the format, I’ve gone back and added trailers at the end of all the review articles, so you can get an instant idea of the aesthetic and tone of the films, if you haven’t yet seen them.
Click here to read the latest Showdown!
For those of you who don’t know, audiences have been crying out for “strong female characters” for years now, and we’ve been treated to ever stronger and more kick-ass women on screen since. But is beating men to a pulp and cutting off their cocks really what critics were calling for?
Not exactly, according to the blog Jo Writes Stuff.
In her excellent and ongoing series, Jo takes fictional female characters and puts them through the grinder: her self-devised, 10-question assessment.
- Does the character shape her own destiny? Does she actively try to change her situation and if not, why not?
- Does she have her own goals, beliefs and hobbies? Did she come up with them on her own?
- Is her character consistent? Do her personality or skills change as the plot demands?
- Can you describe her in one short sentence without mentioning her love life, her physical appearance, or the words ‘strong female character’?
- Does she make decisions that aren’t influenced by her love life?
- Does she develop over the course of the story?
- Does she have a weakness?
- Does she influence the plot without getting captured or killed?
- How does she relate to stereotypes about gender?
- How does she relate to other female characters?
I came across her blog when Scarlet Johannson’s portrayal of Black Widow had won so many plaudits for being one such Strong Female Character she was to star in her own Avengers movie; but to me, she’d seemed utterly at odds with the idea of feminist depth, bemoaning her scars and referring to herself as a monster for her inability to bear child.
Lo, Jo had given Black Widow the 10-question treatment, and this is what she found.
Here’s a list of all the others. Her examination of Trinity is particularly good.
Starting today, I’m going to be devoting Fridays to fellow bloggers I discover on these here internetz. You may not believe it, but sometimes other people have already said it better than me – yup. I know.
So, strap yourselves in, you writerly, readerly bastards, for here’s the first instalment of my #Meanwhile series…
Continue reading #Meanwhile… Strong Writing Made Easier