What Does the Oscars Have Against Women? #oscarwomen


It’s time for a serious national conversation on male bias in the film industry.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

February 20, 2013  |

Stop the presses! Hollywood is still a man’s world. If you have any doubt, consider this: last year, six entire Academy Awards categories were completely free of female nominations. It’s even worse this year, up to seven. The roster of 2013 nominees includes 140 men and a paltry 35 women. Getting nominated is a huge factor in career success for every aspect of the film business, from acting and directing to editing and production.

So what’s up with the man bias?

Might have something to do with the fact that a bunch of older white dudes hold the cards when it comes time to pick winners. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, the legendary head of MGM, comprises mostly working professionals in film and television. Its membership is highly secretive, and includes only people who have been nominated for an Oscar, recommended by at least two current members, or endorsed by the branch’s membership committee or the academy staff.

Sound kind of like a frat? It is. According to a 2012 study by the L.A. Times, 77 percent of Oscar voters are male. They also have a median age of 62. The study found that some of the academy’s 15 branches are nearly all white and male. “Men compose more than 90% of five branches,” noted the Times, “including cinematography and visual effects. Of the academy’s 43-member board of governors, six are women; public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the sole person of color.”

That is a sorry state of affairs. As Julie Barton, president of the Women’s Media Center, recently put it: “In a film industry where 78% of the top-grossing 250 films of 2012 had no female writers, and 89% of them had no female directors, the Hollywood boys’ club needs to start admitting women.”

Academy leaders say they have been trying to diversify, but they face a daunting problem: the entire industry lacks diversity. Fewer than one in five screenwriters is female, and women directors make up less than 10 percent of the total. A vicious, self-reinforcing cylce exists in which guys pick the winners, winners get the jobs, and then these same folks go on to join the boys club.

There are very few signs that the circle will be broken any time soon, despite the recent success of women like Kathryn Bigelow, whose film The Hurt Lockerlanded her a Best Director award in 2009. (Her most recent film, Zero Dark Thirty, is up for several awards this year, including Best Actress, though Bigelow was not nominated for Best Director this time around.) Unfortunately, Bigelow is the exception that proves the rule in a business where sexism pervades every aspect. Consider pay scales: in 2009, the median annual pay in film was about $76,500 for men, compared with just $62,500 for women.

Predictably, movies made by men are also made for men. The Bechdel test, invented by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, tests movies for gender bias. The test is based on three questions: Does a movie contain two or more female characters who have names? Do those characters talk to each other? If so, do they discuss something besides men? The test demonstrates that movies in which women act as the handmaidens to male adventures are still the norm, and even in films with female characters, the interactions between the women are primarily concerned with what the male characters are doing.

Looking at recent movies, Zero Dark Thirtypasses the Bechdel test, because even though the women in the film talk to each other about Bin Laden, he’s certainly not a love interest, and their conversations have a political context and often concern the planning of strategy. Gangster Squad, on the other hand (one of the most stupifyingly tedious films I have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot) flunks the Bechdel. There are two named female characters, but they don’t have anything to say to each other, and they probably couldn’t hear each other if they did, for all the pointless shooting.

Americans are patting themselves on the backs right now for Oscar-nominated films like Lincoln and Django Unchained that purportedly further the conversation on race. But there’s a deafening silence on how the film industry remains stuck in testosterone-soaked aspic when it comes to sexism.

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of ‘Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture.’ She received her Ph.d in English and Cultural Theory from NYU, where she has taught essay writing and semiotics. She is the Director of AlterNet’s New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.

 

#Pakistan-Jinnah wanted ‘Mussalmans’ to enter film industry #Sundayreading


By Tughral Yamin / Photo: Tughral Yamin

Published: January 20, 2013

KARACHI

Where successive Pakistani governments have subjected the country’s once prosperous film industry to official neglect, a recently discovered letter penned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah reveals the country’s founder gave seminal importance to the industry.

“I am in receipt of your letter of December 30th 1944, and I wish more Mussalmans would enter into this realm of film industry, and I shall always be glad to do all I can to help it. I have noted that Mr Mahboob is producing a historical picture “Humayun”, and if I have an opportunity of seeing it I might be able to express my opinion about it, but generally I do wish that more Mussalmans would enter this line, as there is plenty of scope for them in the film industry,” reads the Quaid’s letter, dated January 6, 1945.

The type-written letter clearly bears his personal monogram and is neatly signed by his own hand.

The letter was written in response to a letter by Mohammad Masud, then a young political activist, who sought the Quaid’s opinion on the role of Indian Muslims in the sub-continent’s film industry.

Now in his 80s, Masud resides in Karachi with his grandchildren. While he has never been particularly talkative, many an eager ear has been mesmerised by his narration of pre-partition experiences. From his youth to his old age, Masud has also cultivated a penchant for writing letters to the country’s leaders, past and present. The Quaid was among the few who got back to him.

Pakistani film industry today is exemplified by mustachioed men with ‘gandasas’ staring down plus-sized women as they dance.

Cinemas themselves are dominated by Bollywood and Hollywood. The industry has been on the verge of demise ever since the separation of East Pakistan (and with it, its film industry), and the advent of the VCR.

The state, meanwhile, has had bigger concerns, leaving an industry, which once provided much revenue and was a means of promoting a ‘softer image’, in shambles. No government has tried to restore Pakistani cinema to its former glory – the state does not even acknowledge it as an industry. Similarly, little official attention has been given to film education – not a single state-funded film school exists in the country.

Quaid’s letter could not have been uncovered at a more apt time. It shows the level of enthusiasm a person who represented the entire Muslim population of India at the time possessed, even as he replied to someone as inconsequential as a young admirer – that too at a time when the entire region was embroiled in a crisis much graver than cultivating a film industry.

Masud still pens letters to the country’s present day leaders, often reminding them of their duty to the nation. Most never bother to reply. Only Jinnah had the courtesy and the vision to respond to each letter he received. One can only wish we could have another leader like that.

The author is the nephew of Mohammad Masud and a retired brigadier who teaches strategy at the National Defence University, Islamabad

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2013.

Obituary- French film-maker Chris Marker ( 1911-2012)


French film-maker Chris Marker dies

The controversial Left Bank Cinema director scored an arthouse hit with Sans Soleil and made the brilliant, haunting, highly influential La Jetée

The Guardian

Film director Chris Marker, who has died aged 91

Film director Chris Marker, who has died aged 91

Chris Marker, the enigmatic master of left-field French cinema, has died at the age of 91. The artist and film-maker was best known for his award-winning documentary Sans Soleil and for his haunting drama La Jetée, charting the quest for memory in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse.

  1. La Jetee
  2. Production year: 1962
  3. Country: France
  4. Runtime: 29 mins
  5. Directors: Chris Marker
  6. More on this film

Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve, Marker fought for the French Resistance and then cut his teeth as a journalist and a critic for Cahiers du Cinéma. He made his film debut with Olympia 52, a documentary on the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, and went on to become a leading light of the Left Bank Cinema movement alongside his friends Agnès Varda and Alain Resnais. In 1961 he sparked controversy with the documentary Si Cuba, a film that praised Fidel Castro, denounced America and was promptly banned in the US.

Marker’s other notable pictures include 1985’s AK, an essay on the work of the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and 1977’s A Grin Without a Cat, charting the socialist struggle in the period before and after the 1968 Paris uprisings. He scored an arthouse hit with 1983’s Sans Soleil, his elliptical meditation on travel and memory that darted from Japan to Africa via an appreciation of the 1958 thriller Vertigo. Hitchcock’s movie, said the director, was the only film “capable of portraying impossible memory, insane memory”.

Yet Marker’s most influential production remains 1962’s La Jetée, a 29-minute drama composed almost entirely of still images and tracing one man’s attempt to reclaim an image from his past. Marker’s poetic, provocative meld of global catastrophe and human frailty went on to inspire the 1987 drama The Red Spectacles and Terry Gilliam’s 1995 blockbuster 12 Monkeys.

The teasing, elliptical nature of Marker’s work was reflected in the man himself. He refused to give interviews, hated being photographed and claimed to have born in Mongolia despite contradictory sources that suggested he was a native of Paris. All of which, wrote the critic David Thomson, fostered the notion of Marker as “some mysterious if ideal figure, a hope or a dream more than an actual person”. He was, Thomson added, “the essential ghost”.

Avengers’ slum scenes trigger anger in India


Actors in India have been voicing their disappointment at the portrayal of Kolkata in the film

Hulk in The Avengers played by Mark Ruffalo

Bad taste … scenes set in India of Bruce Banner – AKA Hulk – in The Avengers have been criticised. Photograph: Planet Photos/Marvel

The Avengers might be carrying all before it at the global box office, but inIndia, its healthy reported opening of INR110m (£1.3m) has been marred byhigh profile complaints over its portrayal of urban living conditions.

  1. The Avengers [also known as Avengers Assemble]
  2. Production year: 2012
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 142 mins
  6. Directors: Joss Whedon
  7. Cast: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hiddleston
  8. More on this film

Exception has been taken in regard to two brief scenes showing Bruce Banner – AKA Hulk – (played by Mark Ruffalo) working as a doctor in Kolkata in an attempt to avoid the rage triggers that transform him.

 

Actor Rituparna Sengupta, best known for the Bengali-language films Alo and Dahan, told the Hindustan Times: “Kolkata has a rich culture and heritage, and a film-maker should respect that. There are two scenes about India and they only show slums. It could have been done in better taste.”

 

Neha Dupia, an actor in Bollywood films such as Singh Is Kinng and Dasvidaniya, said: “It is disturbing to see the murky underbelly of India in Hollywood films … we need to make efforts to change [the west’s] perception about us.”

 

However, the film-makers cannot be accused of “slumdog tourism” a laSlumdog Millionaire: according to the Hollywood Reporter, the Kolkata slums were filmed in New Mexico.

 

Meanwhile, Disney has reported that The Avengers’ box office figures for its US opening were even higher than estimated. On Sunday, the studio entered a figure of $200.3m (£124m) for its first three days on release. But better than expected figures for the Sunday’s takings mean the figure is now $207.4m.

Even with the lower estimate, The Avengers – renamed Avengers Assemble for the UK and Irish market – had comfortably eclipsed the previous opening weekend best, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s $169.2m. The Avengers has also become the first film to break the $200m mark for its opening figures.

Sunday Reading –Shah Rukh Khan, Islamophobia and a message for Bollywood


at http://www.sify.com

Shah Rukh Khan‘s two-hour detention at a US airport may not be as random as US authorities claim, says Satyen K Bordoloi as he profiles Islamophobia and its roots in cinema.
(With invaluable inputs from Monica Wahi and Shama Zaidi)

Three people stepped out of the private jet owned by the second richest man in Asia. Two of them were the man’s wife and daughter while the third was a film star whose global fan base outnumbers that of the biggest Hollywood star.

Yet, the film star was picked up for ‘terror’ screening in the US airport and detained for two hours. Though no one said so, everyone knows that the star’s fault lay in his name – Khan, Shah Rukh Khan.

So what if Khan means ‘leader’ or ‘commander’ and that he is perhaps the most well known ‘Khan’ on the planet.

The hilarity, however, had only begun. After Indians protested, the US authorities claimed that this was a random screening and that thousands of people get screened every day.

Random? Private Jet… one in three people… with the family of the second ri

chest man in Asia… a hugely popular star who needs only a 0.278 second Google search to confirm… Perhaps the US foreign policy on India is devised by watching the country’s illogical commercial cinema for them to believe that the Indian public will buy any nonsense.

Shah Rukh Khan downplayed the incident with his characteristic wit saying, ‘Whenever I start feeling too arrogant, I take a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom.’

The film industry, aware of the King Khan‘s megalomania, would have smirked in acknowledgement at this tongue-in-cheek self-flagellation. Yet, for the umpteenth time, this incident has put the spotlight on the tornado called Islamophobia that has left no one untouched – presidents and superstars included.

Aamir Khan was strip-searched in 2002. Irffan Khan had so many trysts, especially in 2008 and 2009, that he dropped the surname Khan from his name.

Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked twice in one day in 2010 at New York airport.

If this happens to such globally affluent Muslims, one can only imagine the kind of ‘random’ search common Muslims are perhaps subjected to.

Ironically what has been used the most in spreading this Islamophobia, is the medium of cinema itself.

History of Hollywood’s anti-Islam propaganda

Read more below

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,233 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,762,909 hits

Archives

October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
%d bloggers like this: