I would like to take a moment to acknowledge Kathryn Bigelow’s triumph at the Academy Awards. It was very inspiring to see a woman double-fisting a couple of Oscars like that, and although I haven’t seen the Hurt Locker*, I would like to congratulate Ms.Bigelow on her historic win.
Speaking of female directors, I had a nice moment the other day when I got home and realized the two films I’d just rented were both directed by women.** Fantastic! And, even better, they were both terrific movies- Jane Campion’s ‘Bright Star’, and Drew Barrymore’s ‘Whip It’.
‘Bright Star’ is based on the relationship between John Keats and Fanny Brawne. It’s a period film, it’s a romance, and it’s beautiful like all of Campion’s work. It’s the kind of movie you have to sit up and pay attention to because everybody in it speaks quickly, and wittily (with accents!) about things like poetry and 19th century social conventions.
I know some folks who are freaks for period films and I can’t say I count myself among them, but I liked ‘Bright Star’ very much, mostly because I believed their romance- it wasn’t instant, it had a nice progression.
The film also has the added bonus of Paul Schneider playing Keats’ friend Mr.Brown. I first saw Mr.Schneider in David Gordon Green’s ‘George Washington’, and ‘All the Real Girls’ (which Schneider co-wrote) and have been glad to see him turn up in some interesting projects since then. In ‘Bright Star’ he plays a bit of a baddie (with an accent!), and he’s fun as ever to watch.
Jane Campion has been making films for quite a while now. Originally from New Zealand, she’s a great talent, and if you’re not familiar with her work, I highly recommend a little Campion revue. (Early films ‘An Angel at my Table’, and ‘Sweetie’ are particularly good. ‘Bright Star’ also features the wonderful Kerry Fox from ‘An Angel at my Table’.)
Drew Barrymore has also been making films for a long time, but ‘Whip It’ is her first turn as a director and it’s a freakin’ delight! I loved this movie! So fun, so much heart and good spirit. It was funny, charming, it looked great, it made me want to be in a roller derby (well, briefly), and yeah… Check it out.
* and probably never will, not being a huge war film fan, and being rather squeamish and easily scared. Thank God for Drew Barrymore and movies like ‘Whip it’!
** I’m usually much more conscious of stuff like this