After learning a great deal about black culture and the history of diversity in Hollywood, I’ve decided to keep the ball rolling with the issue of diversity in the world of film. March will focus on women in film, whether they’re behind the camera or acting in front of it. The Women in Film marathon will span the entire history of talking films, starting in 1935 and ending in 1993, and will feature pictures from Hollywood, Belgium, and New Zealand. I’ve left the rules relatively uncomplicated, with my only stipulation being that a renowned actress or director is behind the project.
The marathon will feature six films starring some of the greatest actresses in the history of Hollywood, most of them doubling as Oscar-nominated and other award winning performances. On top of those, two more films will take a look at the world of women behind the camera, with their films coming from around the world. The goal of this series is to further my own appreciation for how far women in film have come over the last century, and to expose myself and others to some of the projects that helped women get a foothold in the famously male-dominated industry.
The films being covered will be as follows:
- Alice Adams (1935) (dir. George Stevens) – This Academy Award nominated drama saw Katharine Hepburn jump back into the limelight after her career suffered from a short tailspin following her first Oscar win. Hepburn still holds the impressive record for most career Academy Award wins with four.
- Now, Voyager (1942) (dir. Irving Rapper) – One of the all-time greatest dramatic performers in Hollywood, Bette Davis, was nominated for her sixth Oscar and is often considered to be one of the stronger performances in her illustrious career.
- Gaslight (1944) (dir. George Cukor) – The famous mystery film earned Ingrid Bergman her first of three Academy Awards, and would help put her on a course that would eventually see her collaborate with filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Roberto Rossellini, Sidney Lumet, and Ingmar Bergman.
- To Each His Own (1946) (dir. Mitchell Leisen) – The acclaimed romantic drama saw the great Olivia de Havilland win her first of two Academy Awards for her portrayal of a strong, but lonely, woman in the world of business.
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) (dir. Blake Edwards) – One of the most famous American movies that has somehow managed to elude me for so long sees the lovely Audrey Hepburn in one of the most iconic screen roles of all-time. Hepburn was nominated for her fourth Oscar for her performance.
- Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) (dir. Chantal Akerman) – Often celebrated as the world’s greatest female film director, Chantal Akerman’s nearly four hour epic is an arthouse masterpiece. Akerman tragically committed suicide in October of 2015 after a long battle with depression.
- Sophie’s Choice (1982) (dir. Alan J. Pakula) – Seen as one of the greatest performances in a career that is full of great performances, Meryl Streep took home her second of three Academy Awards, and would serve as her fourth of nineteen nominations at the world’s oldest award ceremony.
- The Piano (1993) (dir. Jane Campion) – A massive financial and critical success that put director Jane Campion on the map, winning the Palme d’Or at that year’s Cannes film festival. The film’s success would see her nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, making Campion only the second woman ever nominated for the honor.
The schedule for the Women in Film series is as follows:
#1 – Alice Adams – Katharine Hepburn (1935) (Mar. 2)
#2 – Now, Voyager – Bette Davis (1942) (Mar. 4)
#3 – Gaslight – Ingrid Bergman (1944) (Mar. 7)
#4 – To Each His Own – Olivia de Havilland (1946) (Mar. 11)
#5 – Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Audrey Hepburn (1961) (Mar. 14)
#6 – Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles – Chantal Akerman (1975) (Mar. 18)
#7 – Sophie’s Choice – Meryl Streep (1982) (Mar. 21)
#8 – The Piano – Jane Campion (1993) (Mar. 25)