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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How would great female filmmakers describe their work in ways comparable to the machismo of male filmmakers?

So yesterday, the BFI tweeted this:

“The theater is like a faithful wife. The film is the great adventure: the costly, exacting mistress.” Ingmar Bergman #bornonthisday

And all I could think was, The male dominance of filmmaking sometimes smacks at you from a direction you weren’t expecting.
Not many women make movies, but even if lots of women were making movies, it’s hard to imagine a female filmmaker saying:

The theater is like a faithful husband. The film is the great adventure: the costly, exacting lover.

That simply doesn’t work, because the connotations that come laden with “faithful wife” and “faithful husband” are not equivalent, and the notion that women have “costly, exacting” lovers doesn’t really exist… and least not in anything like the reverse.

I’m at a total loss, in fact, as I try to come up with anything near to the sense of what Bergman was conveying that a woman filmmaker might say. Maybe something like:

The theater is like adopting a puppy. The film is the great adventure: the excruciating, exhilarating childbirth.

How would great female filmmakers describe their work in ways comparable to the machismo of male filmmakers?

Here are a few more quotes from male filmmakers that it’s hard to imagine a woman saying, and would welcome a gender-swap translation:

I like tits and ass. Mostly tits. (Paul Verhoeven)

Film is a battleground. (Sam Fuller)

If filmmaking was a beautiful woman, I would have trouble wooing her because she’s a needy jerk. (Justin Bundy)

Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity. (Chuck Jones)

A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard. (Billy Wilder)

All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl. (Jean-Luc Godard)

Have fun.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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