Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Dorothy Arzner and female film authorship

Like some film blogs of great note, Film Studies For Free has been pondering Kathryn Bigelow's recent Oscar for achievement in film directing. All in all, it concurs with Steven Shaviro's assessment in his wonderful recent blogpost on this event:
Given the Academy’s lame choices for best film and best director over the years, Bigelow’s Oscars can scarcely be credited as a verification or proof of her auteurial status; but I am nonetheless greatly pleased, and indeed thrilled, and indeed a bit amazed, that so singular and powerful an artist has actually (and quite unusually) received this sort of recognition.
FSFF's very own Bigelow links post is in preparation, but today, in part prompted by an excellent article in the latest issue of Sight & Sound by Sophie Mayer, this blog brings you a little list of links to online and openly accessible scholarly writing touching on the wonderful work of Dorothy Arzner, one of Bigelow's (acclaimed but unrewarded by the Academy) female forbears in the commercially-successful, Hollywood, movie-directing business.

Like Bigelow, Arzner has been a hugely important figure to feminist film scholars and theorists, and so some of the work below explores her work in that context.

1 comment:

Peter Nellhaus said...

While I was also glad to see Bigelow win, having seen all of her previous features, I feel like too many film scholars writing about women filmmakers are too narrow in their scope. It's as if those writing in English can only write about those filmmakers who make English language films. No one as questioned why there have been only four female nominees and only one winner for the Oscar, while in little Hong Kong, Ann Hui gets nominated for almost every film she makes, and has won several times. The Hong Kong Film awards have also recognized Ivy Ho and Sylvia Chang. As far as genre, I've noted several Asian women who have made horror films, plus one, the English educated Shimako Sato, who made an action hero movie.