The movie biz that it is.
On male and female directors being held to different standards, as Dargis suggested in comparing Bigelow [the director of Hurt Locker who is female] and Michael Mann in her piece: Do you think that a woman would have been able to get forty million dollars to make a puppet movie the way that Wes Anderson has been able to make, bringing to bear all the publicity and advertising budget of Fox? After two movies that didn’t make a lot of money? I think this is true for a lot of black filmmakers too – they’re held to a higher standard. And an unfair standard. You can be a male filmmaker and if you’re perceived as a genius – a boy genius or a fully-formed adult genius – that you are allowed to fail in a way that a woman is not allowed to fail.[…]
On why so many romantic comedies are so terrible: One, the people making them have no fucking taste, two, they’re morons, three they’re insulting panderers who think they’re making movies for the great unwashed and that’s what they want. I love romantic movies. I absolutely do. But I literally don’t know what’s happening. I think it’s depressing that Judd Apatow makes the best romantic comedies and they’re about men. All power to Apatow, but he’s taken and repurposed one of the few genres historically made for women. ….We had so few [genres] that were made specifically for the female audience and now the best of them are being made by Judd Apatow. But what are his movies supposed to be about? Nominally about the relationship between a man and a woman, but they’re really buddy flicks. Funny People was supposed to have an important role for a woman, but she was uninteresting and an afterthought.
On representations of women onscreen: There’s a reason that women go to movies like Mamma Mia. It’s a terrible movie… but women are starved for representation of themselves. I go back to Spike Lee and She’s Gotta Have It. I remember going to see it at the Quad in New York, surrounded by a black audience. People are starved for representations of themselves.
Read the whole interview. Its good. Dargis also expresses her disappointment that at one point all four majors were run by female executives and yet it didn’t change the dynamic within the film industry. That’s not surprising. Studio executives aren’t tasked with finding great movies, they are tasked with finding movies that make great money. Maid in Manhattan wins over Million Dollar Baby by that measure.
As Dargis says: independent companies are the way to go if Hollywood is to be diversified. Cosby Show changed the face of television with his sitcom, Spike Lee changed theaters and Oprah changed daytime TV, but they came after others fit themselves into much less inspiring or lower profile spaces in their genres (e.g. The Jeffersons, Peebles and Gumbel [i know, i know lame attempt to draw parallels but you get what I mean]).
Its kind of the public dynamic being experienced between Obama and the far left of the Democratic party (those left of that didn’t trust Obama much anyway). He is the black and liberal studio exec that is supposed to represent and uplift liberals for liberals and supposed to represent and uplift blacks for blacks through his work. And now he is the HNIC/HLIC so he has to do it not now, but RIGHT now. We forget, most of his campaign was simply running to be the competent exec representing a competent and fair constituency. Asking for much more may be expecting more than the reality of his term allows and more than he promised.