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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

Alliance of Women Film Journalists 2009 EDA Award winners announced

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists — of which I’m a member and a member of the board — have announced the winners of our 2009 EDA awards. Select highlights (links go to my reviews):

• Best Film: The Hurt Locker
• Best Animated Film: Up
• Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
• Best Actress: Carey Mulligan in An Education
• Best Actress In Supporting Role: Mo’Nique in Precious
• Best Actor: Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
• Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

Click here for the full list of winners, including those in our special categories, which include “Best Depiction Of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction,” “Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent,” “Sexist Pig Award,” and “This Year’s Outstanding Achievement By A Woman In The Film Industry.”

Woo-hoo! We are so having an AWFJ party this week to celebrate. And then I have to finally write my review of Hurt Locker



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  • Ide Cyan

    Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker FTW! (I went to see it for a third time tonight — it resurface at the dollar theatre this week-end.)

  • doa766

    MaryAnn, maybe you can help me with this because since I’m a guy maybe I’m wrong, this may have spoilers:

    I thought that the weakest aspect of The Hurt Locker on an otherwise outstanding movie was the depiction of the only female character, it didn’t seem very feminist for a film directed by a woman:

    Will said they’re divorced but she still lives on his house and says they’re together, then when he comes home she doesn’t seem to pay much attention to him besides of a quiet war hero respect, and then she sticks by him when he clearly shows her that his war/adrenaline addiction is more important to him than her or his kid and goes for another year long tour in probably a few weeks (even if it’s not explicit), she appeared to be the complete opposite of an independent, modern woman

    also it took me a few shots to realize that she was played by Evangeline Lilly, probably because she play such a strong, dominant female character on Lost and here seemed so passive that I couldn’t recognize her at first

    don’t you think that on a boys only movie directed by a woman the portray of the only female character was way too weak?

  • MaryAnn

    Doa, what makes you think that a modern, independent woman wouldn’t have a complex relationship with a complicated man? “Feminism” doesn’t mean “not putting up with a man you love because he’s got other things going on in his life, or has issues that make it hard to love him.” Or it could be that the Lilly character *is* passive and weak: you think some women aren’t passive and weak, and don’t remain in relationships with men when they’d be better off alone? Why would even a feminism director pretend otherwise?

    That said, this movie isn’t about this relationship *at all,* though, so I don’t see how you come to these conclusions about the character — or about Bigelow as somehow not feminist — based on the tiny amount of screen time devoted to it.

  • doa766

    my point is based on the notion that usually people think that characters on movies represent more than themselves, that there’s a point for them being the way they’re are that’s more important that their part on the story, otherwise those robots that acted like dumb rappers on Transformers 2 wouldn’t be offensive because they don’t portray black people, they’re just comic relief and not a racist comment

    so, if she represents women on this picture it doesn’t come across as a very flattering portray, which would be understandable if a man was directing but I would think that a woman behind the camera would make the only female character a little more strong or independent (she knows that he prefers going to war than staying home with her and their kid and she doesn’t seem to mind)

    but that’s just me, I made this argument to a friend and he said I was sexist by thinking women should direct differently than men, also this is one of those things that wouldn’t matter at all if the rest of the movie wasn’t so great

  • Lisa

    one women does not represent all of womankind

    also may be it suits her that he’s off in Iraq all the time!

  • Bluejay

    Or it could be that the Lilly character *is* passive and weak: you think some women aren’t passive and weak, and don’t remain in relationships with men when they’d be better off alone? Why would even a feminism director pretend otherwise?

    one women does not represent all of womankind

    And yet, in one of the Twilight discussions, I remember being knocked down–rightly, I thought afterward–for arguing that Bella was illogical and accident-prone simply because that was her character, and it didn’t signify anything larger. Accounting Ninja’s response, which I thought was quite sound, was:

    It’s easy and common to dismiss charges of racism or sexism this way, that way it continues to fly under the radar as “isolated” or individual instances. But, when it all adds up in the cultural broth, it becomes something larger than itself.

    Does that argument not apply in this case? (I ask this not having seen the movie, although it’s high up on my Netflix queue and I’m eager to see it.)

  • Ide Cyan

    I think doa766’s just using a diversionary tactic to detract from Bigelow’s accomplishment. She directed it, but it didn’t have enough female character presence in it!

    And it’s feminist-baiting concern troll type criticism as well. You call yourself a feminist! How dare you embrace that you movie!

    Now you’re all going to have to spend the rest of this thread defending the movie instead of celebrating it!

    I call bullshit.

  • Ide Cyan

    Bluejay: doa766’s comments on the film’s lack of female characters would ring a little less hollow if they made some mention of the brief but important scene involving another woman in the movie, but that would make it harder to position Evangeline Lilly’s characters as an embodiment of all women in support of doa766’s complaint.

  • Paul

    Wow, Ugly Truth beat out Max Tucker? Not having seen either movie, I can only express surprise based upon hearsay evidence.

  • MaryAnn

    Does that argument not apply in this case? (I ask this not having seen the movie, although it’s high up on my Netflix queue and I’m eager to see it.)

    Comparing Bella to the Lilly character in *Hurt Locker* is preposterous. Bella is the central figure of her story, and the character those watching are meant to identify with. She could have been a fully drawn person with flaws — except she isn’t: she’s a hastily sketched person who is nothing *but* a pile of stereotypes of what girls/women are “supposed” to be, but which bear no relation whatsoever to what girls/women actually are, even when girls/women feel pressured to conform to those stereotypes.

    The Lilly character appears in one tiny scene, from which we can draw few conclusions about her as a person.

    But even if there was more evidence to support the characterization of the Lilly character as weak and passive, that doesn’t *automatically* mean it’s a bad portrayal: it *could* be a genuine portrayal of a flawed person. Or it could be an awful portrayal of someone who doesn’t ring true at all.

    And the suggestion the feminism requires that all women be portrayed in a flattering light — or that a woman who does not portray all women in a flattering light isn’t a feminist — is ridiculous.

  • Mathias

    Wow, great selections. I can’t really argue with any of them.

    Although THL left me with one burning question when i left the theater; Just what the hell is a Hurt Locker? Those words aren’t mentioned once in the film.
    I was waiting for a character to explain the film’s title but it never came.

    I especially agree with (500) Days Of Summer for best original screenplay.
    It was like an ice-cold glass of lemonade in the middle of the hottest day of the summer. Refreshing, sweet, a little bitter and totally rejuvenating.

    And yes MaryAnn, we’re all waiting with bated breaths your reviews of both The Hurt Locker and 500 Days of Summer. I thought they were the two best films of the year (so far, Come on Cameron, wow me!). ;)

  • MaryAnn

    we’re all waiting with bated breaths your reviews of both The Hurt Locker and 500 Days of Summer.

    Me too!

    Seriously: I have screeners of both, and plan to watch them again and write about them soon.

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