Why do women have to be dead and famous to be the star of a popular film? So asks New York Times‘ film critic Manohla Dargis in today’s paper.
The latest two entries are Amelia Earhart, in a new film played by Hilary Swank and Coco Chanel, played by Audrey Tautou. Safely buried, the messier details of their lives hidden in the end-notes or indices of their multiple biographies, only then, Dargis argues, can women be resurrected and burnished to Hollywood’s standards. Sometimes the gutsiest and most accomplished women have made some decidedly controversial choices about other areas of their lives. Seems obvious to me, but I think that also scares off producers.
There are so many women, dead and alive, whose lives and choices intrigue me. I’d be happy to pay $12 for a well-made movie about: Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Canadian suffragist Nellie McClung, birth control advocate Margaret Sanger, social activist Dorothy Day, women’s wear maker Lena Bryant, physician and surgeon Virginia Apgar, scientist Marie Curie, photographer Margaret Bourke-White, journalists and war corespondents Marguerite Higgins and Martha Gellhorn, shooter Annie Oakley, explorer Isabella Bird and Gertrude Bell, the first woman to work for British military intelligence in 1915, an expert on the Mideast.
Who would you like to see a film about?