Usually, in this industry, it’s every man for himself, and it’s almost always a man telling you your ass is too fat at the same time he’s trying to grope it. And having a woman in charge instead of that Sackballs guy? This is as good as it gets.
While there have been many shows about show business, GLOW is one of the few series that doesn’t treat its women as disposable, as plot devices, or eye candy for problematic men. At first glance, the show appears as if it’s geared to cater to the male fantasy, but GLOW is so much more than that. GLOW, for the most part is devoid of the male gaze, and allows its women to be imperfect. It demonstrates the complicated relationship between a woman’s body and her trajectory in life, and how men in entertainment (and beyond) try to take ownership of that. Over the course of its three seasons, GLOW has allowed its women to thrive, and take charge of their bodies and careers- both on screen and off. Although GLOW takes place in the eighties, not much has changed in regards to the body policing of the ambitious woman.
Continue reading “‘GLOW’ Declares That a Woman’s Body Isn’t Tied to Her Destiny for Greatness”
Deeply poetic, and rooted in her heritage, Julie Dash’s work showcases extraordinary women from the past and present. A pioneering director, Dash places historical heroines—both known and unknown—front and center in her filmography. Her refreshing work places a lens on black women, and showcases them in a way that doesn’t follow society’s (or Hollywood’s) rigid standards. Dash’s women overcome obstacles, and exhibit a resilience and grace no matter the circumstances. She doesn’t allow her leads to follow traditional narratives, in fact she allows them to follow a narrative of her own design.
The heart of Dash’s work are the complex women that she paints a vivid picture of, both real and fictional. While she often explores the complex relationship of racial identity, at the same time she is a visionary that refuses to place her heroines in a box. Dash cites that her films were influenced by authors such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Toni Kay Bambara.
Continue reading “Female Director Spotlight: Julie Dash’s Legacy is Rooted in Black Heritage and Extraordinary Women”
If you were given a platform to speak on any issue, what would you choose? What do you think would happen to you for exercising free speech? For some, the stakes are way higher, and the consequences are great. Over the course of history, beauty pageants have served as national stages for young women to shed light on any cause of their choice with some reservations. For a former contestant, the Chinese-born Anastasia Lin, her call to arms would prove to be extremely dangerous and career-threatening.
In 2015, Lin made international headlines when she used her platform to speak out against the human rights crisis in China. In 2016, she made the news again as she advanced to the final round of the Miss World competition in Washington D.C. Lin’s call to action would put her entire family in China in danger, especially her father, a successful businessman. Since 2015, Lin has scored legions of supporters in her plight, yet she is still at odds with the Chinese government.
In the long line of of pageant contestants over time, have any other queens been named ‘persona non Grata?’ Anastasia Lin is the lone woman that has that distinction. “The Badass Beauty Queen” was the term derived from Andrea Thompson’s article in Marie Claire, where she described Anastasia Lin’s fight for freedom of expression in China.
In Theresa Kowall-Shipp’s documentary of the same name, the production follows Lin through her final shot at pageantry, as well as the many attempts to silence her message by the Chinese government and the Miss World Organization. Lin’s story is extraordinary, and one that showcases the importance of the press, standing up for what’s right, and using your platform for the greater good. Badass Beauty Queen is a documentary of which has been years in the making, and one that deserves to be seen.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Badass Beauty Queen’ Goes Behind Anastasia Lin’s Quest For the Truth”
Do you believe that perfection creates madness, or madness creates perfection? Time and time again, film explores the relationship between the artist and the pursuit of complete and total mastery of their craft. What will it take to be the best of the best? What will be sacrificed? In most cases, the artist pays a hefty price for the highest form of achievement, but is it all worth it in the end? All too often, the artist loses relationships, personal autonomy, and in some instances, even sanity. It’s a tightrope that many must walk for the sake of a perfect performance and the hearts of spectators. The latest film to explore this symbiotic relationship is Richard Shepherd’s The Perfection. The Perfection takes viewers in the dark recesses of the competitive world of music.
Continue reading “‘The Perfection’ Manipulates Audiences Into Rooting Against the Wrong Villain”
For decades, filmmakers have been endlessly fascinated with telling the stories behind World War II, one of the darkest and tumultuous periods in history. Since the war’s conclusion, many stories emerged beyond the remains. However, there are still many aspects of history that were lost over time. There’s still so much we don’t know, and may never know. Despite the hundreds of films, documentaries, and books, some important parts of history fall between the cracks. In her latest film, director/writer Amma Asante aims to showcase a different perspective of Nazi Germany in Where Hands Touch.
Inspired by the hidden history of the cruelly-named Rheinlandbastarde, Where Hands Touch centers the story around a mixed-race German girl by the name of Leyna (Amandla Stenberg). Born of a French-Senegalese father and German mother (Abbie Cornish), Leyna struggles to find her place in an increasingly hostile Nazi Germany. Leyna loves her country, yet her own country demonstrates it doesn’t love her back. Believing herself to be a true German, Leyna initially believes she is safe from the wrath of the Third Reich.
Continue reading “‘Where Hands Touch’ Doesn’t Quite Embrace the History of Black Germans”
Since 2005, YouTube has been the haven for creative individuals to express themselves and bypass the industry gatekeepers. A blessing an a curse to the general public, the platform has spawned legions of careers for singers and makeup gurus, comedians and “influencers” of god knows what. For the millennial generation, can you remember what life was like before the age of sharing everything on camera? Before now, what did we have to share our creativity and parts of our lives with our community? For some, that medium was public access television. In its heyday, public access TV was a breeding ground for original, and unconventional entertainment in a golden age of sitcoms and teen soap operas.
Back in the nineties, Ruthie Marantz had her own public access show in Manhattan. Her show, Rainbow Ruthie and the Color Kids gained a cult following during its run. Ruthie’s allure was that she was just a young girl having fun and speaking her mind, something not so common during the time. In various episodes, Ruthie is seen interacting with people on the streets of New York City, and occasionally running into celebrities at events, such as the Spice Girls.
Continue reading “‘Rainbow Ruthie’ Blends Nineties Nostalgia and Today’s Social Media Culture”
Elle Fanning is one of today’s biggest indie darlings, proving herself to be an electric screen presence. One of the industry’s most exciting young actresses, Fanning’s resume is pretty extensive for a twenty one year-old. In Max Minghella’s directorial debut Teen Spirit, Fanning stars as a young woman whose angelic voice takes her to an national singing competition. A fun entry to the “showbiz” film genre, Teen Spirit is a modern Cinderella story that takes its heroine on an adventure from a small town to the big time.
In the past year, films with flawed female artists have hit cinemas, and have sparked important conversations. Vox Lux, Her Smell, and A Star is Born depict some heavy subjects, but Teen Spirit is a lighthearted and optimistic view into the music industry. Mining inspiration from the likes of singing competitions such as American Idol and The Voice, Teen Spirit follows the circus of competition, and the passion for the underdog.
Continue reading “‘Teen Spirit’ is Musical Fun That is Pleasing to the Senses”