Saturday, November 19, 2022

She Said

Maria Schrader: She Said (US 2022) starring Carey Mulligan (Megan Twohey) and Zoe Kazan (Jodi Kantor).

US © 2022 Universal Pictures. Universal Pictures presents An Annapurna & Plan B Production. P: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner. EX: Brad Pitt, Lila Yacoub, Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle.
    D: Maria Schrader. SC: Rebecca Lenkiewicz – based on the New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Rebecca Corbett and the book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement (2019) by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Cin: Natasha Braier – colour – 1,85:1. PD: Meredith Lippincott. Cost: Brittany Loar. M: Nicholas Britell. Cello: Caitlin Sullivan.
    Music track listing includes: Aarre Merikanto: 4. Pieces No. 3 Arietta (1916).
    Soundtrack includes: authentic audio recording with Harvey Weinstein and Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.
    C: Carey Mulligan (Megan Twohey), Zoe Kazan (Jodi Kantor), Patricia Clarkson (Rebecca Corbett), Andre Braugher (Dean Baquet), Jennifer Ehle (Laura Madden), Samantha Morton (Zelda Perkins), Angela Yeoh (Rowena Chiu), Ashley Judd (As Herself).
    128 min
    Festival premiere: 13 Oct 2022 New York Film Festival
    Finnish premiere: 18 Nov 2022, released by Finnkino with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Iira Tuominen / Joanna Erkkilä.
    Viewed at Finnkino Strand, Iso Kristiina, Lappeenranta, 19 Nov 2022


" Two-time Academy Award® nominee CAREY MULLIGAN (Promising Young Woman, An Education) and Emmy nominee ZOE KAZAN (The Plot Against America, The Big Sick) star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who together broke one of the most important stories in a generation— a story that shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and impelled a shift in American culture that continues to this day."

"From the Academy Award® winning producers of 12 Years a Slave, Moonlight, Minari, Selma and The Big Short and the Oscar®-nominated producer of Zero Dark Thirty and American Hustle, the film is based on the New York Times investigation by JODI KANTOR, MEGAN TWOHEY and REBECCA CORBETT and the New York Times bestseller, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey."

"A testament to the incalculable importance of investigative journalism, She Said details the journey of reporters and editors engaged in the unrelenting pursuit of the truth and highlights the courage of survivors and witnesses who chose to come forward to stop an accused serial predator from committing further harm. Together, their commitment and fortitude sparked a global conversation, helped propel the #MeToo movement, and fueled a reckoning of the system that had enabled him."

"At its heart, She Said is an inspiring true story about people, many of them women, many of them mothers, who summoned the courage to speak out and seek justice, not just for themselves but for those in the future, both in the U.S. and around the globe. The film is a compelling, moving reminder of the power of individual people, armed with determination and grit, to, together, change the world.

AA: She Said is the story of one of the most epochal cases of investigative journalism in history.

Against overwhelming odds, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey exposed the decades-long practice of sexual harassment at Miramax Studios by Harvey Weinstein. When that dam broke, suppressed cases of sexual abuse were revealed all over the world.

She Said is a story of standing up against intimidation. The set-up has affinities with the paranoid tradition of the political thriller of the 1970s, but She Said is a post-paranoid drama. It is a tale of liberation, the liberating power of truth.

What I admire most in She Said is its wide perspective, its awareness of the philosophy of history. It is a case study, and a huge one, yet the journalists know that their story is bigger than Weinstein. It is about a system of abuse and harassment with roots going back to the dawn of civilization and before.

The conveyor-belt style sexual abuse of stars and starlets "on the casting couch" flourished during the studio era. I belong to the ones who were shocked to discover that it still survived in contemporary film business. A system with affinities with the lordly privileges in slave societies (including in the Deep South and Classical Antiquity) and feudalism (droit du seigneur). But also with the harem systems of baboons.

We have seen just the tip of the iceberg, and it is important that this tip is impeccably documented, as Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and their The New York Times editorial support system did in an exemplary way.

Because of the inflammatory nature of the subject the film-makers, including the director Maria Schrader, the screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz and the excellent duo Carey Mulligan (Megan Twohey) and Zoe Kazan (Jodi Kantor) have adopted a sober, mundane approach, avoiding melodrama and emphasis. Because of this, She Said will have a long life as a case study in film schools, journalism schools and contexts of women's rights.

I notice a Covid compliance team in the end credits. She Said belongs to the films that have excellent production values and a highly talented team and cast but a slightly "pandemic phlegmatic" ambience. I know nothing about its production circumstances, but everywhere remote work, breaks in the schedule, sick leaves and long absences mean that the end result is not as engrossing and irresistible as it would normally be. The profound, compelling drive underneath is missing.

Go see this wonderful and intelligent film with your friends. Five years ago something happened, and the world will never be the same again. There is still a lot to discuss and a lot to be done. We have hardly started yet.


Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Alice Guy at Gaumont: 40 minutes attribuées à Alice Guy (1896–1910) GP Archives / Agnès Bertola 2022

Alice Guy tourne une Phono-Scène / [Alice Guy Films a Phono-Scène] (FR 1907). Elle dirige Le Bal des Capulets au Studio des Buttes Chaumont.

Following the lecture: History of the Cinema: Introduction to the history of the cinema and the origins of the cinema
40 minutes attribuées à Alice Guy * HD
GP Archives / Agnès Bertola
♪ piano Matias Tyni. Introduced by AA.
Kino Regina, DCP, 1 Nov 2022

Madame a des envies / [Rouvan mielihalut] / [Madame's Cravings] (FR 1906). The weirdest appetites of a pregnant woman, from absinthe to herring, from tobacco to cabbage.

La Fée aux choux / [Kaalien haltijatar] / [The Cabbage Fairy] (FR 1900). Wie sag ich's meinem Kinde? Where do babies come from? The enchantment of the fairy-tale.

Sage-femme de première classe / [Ensiluokkainen kätilö] / [First-Class Midwife] (FR 1902). Another version of the cabbage-fairy-tale of where the babies come from.

Sur la barricade / [Barrikadeille] / [On the Barricade] (FR 1907). A female viewpoint to the street fighting theme: the mother steps in front of her son, and the soldiers cease their fire.

Alice Guy tourne une Phono-Scène / [Alice Guy ohjaa äänielokuvan] / [Alice Guy Films a Phono-Scène at the studios in Buttes-Chaumont] (FR 1907). The job title "film director" had not even been established yet, but here we see already what it is all about.

Questions indiscrètes
/ [Sopimattomia kysymyksiä] / [Félix Mayol sings "Indiscreet Questions"] (FR 1906) sound film. Very charming.

Chapellerie et charcuterie mécaniques / [Hattu- ja makkarakone] / [The Hat-and-Sausage Machine] (FR 1900). Alice Guy's version of the popular early cinema idea.

Les Résultats du féminisme / [Feminismin seuraukset] / [The Consequences of Feminism] (FR 1906). Gender roles turn upside down. Men need to fend off female harassment. Men turn into dandies and sissies.

Le Coq dressé / [Koulutettu kukko] / [The Singing Rooster] (FR 1910) sound film. The commanding posture of the rooster.

Chirurgie fin de siècle / [Vuosisadanvaihteen kirurgiaa] / [Turn-of-the-Century Surgery] (FR 1900). Alice Guy's version of the idea also familiar from Méliès.

La Course à la saucisse / [Suuri makkarajahti] / [The Race for the Sausage] (FR 1907). A grand farce of escalation, a catastrophe comedy.

My Alice Guy reading project:

Alice Guy: The Memoirs of Alice Guy Blaché (Autobiographie d'une pionnière du cinéma : 1873-1968. Paris : Denoël / Gonthier, 1976). Edited by Anthony Slide. Translated by Roberta Blaché and Simone Blaché. Filmography in France: Francis Lacassin. Filmography in the USA: Anthony Slide. Lanham, MD : Scarecrow Press, 1986. Additional material by Anthony Slide in 1996. ISBN 0-8108-3104-X.
    The indispensable cornerstone with research by Francis Lacassin and Anthony Slide. *)

Alice Guy: Memorie di una pioniera del cinema. (Autobiographie d'une pionnière du cinéma). Edited by Monica Dell'Asta. Translated by Paola Cristalli and Sandro Toni. Bologna : Cineteca Bologna, 2008. ISBN: 978-88-9586-207-1
    The Italian translation includes Monica Dell'Asta's introduction and a filmography with print source information.

Alison McMahan: Alice Guy Blaché : Lost Visionary of the Cinema. New York : Continuum, 2003. ISBN 0-8264-5158-6.
    An excellent major study, also placing Alice Guy in the history of early cinema storytelling and exploring key features such as her devotion to Catholicism.

Catel & Bouquet : Alice Guy : First Lady of Film (Alice Guy). Translated by Edward Gauvin. London: SelfMadeHero, 2022. ISBN: 978-1-914224-03-4
    The exhilarating graphic novel is based on solid research. Recommended for readers of all ages.

Janelle Dietrick : Alice & Eiffel: A new history of early cinema and the love story kept secret for a century. Portland: Book Baby, 2016. ISBN: 978-1-68222-766-4
Janelle Dietrick : Illuminating Moments : The Films of Alice Guy Blaché. Portland: BookBaby, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-54390-143-6
Janelle Dietrick : Mademoiselle Alice : A Novel. Portland: BookBaby, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-54390-999-9
    Janelle Dietrick's work-in-progress: Dichtung und Wahrheit about Alice Guy.

We have been screening Alice Guy's works over the years. Before this, we had screened the Swedish Film Archive's fabulous Sieurin collection with many films attributed to Alice Guy.

In Bologna's Il Cinema Ritrovato I saw the great 2011 Alice Guy retrospective.
Kim Tomadjoglou: tribute to Alice Guy.
Alice Guy 1: The Sieurin Collection.
Alice Guy 2: Comedy Is the Source of All Pleasures.
Alice Guy 3: Social Drama. Gender, Ethnicity, Race, and Class.
Alice Guy 4: The Best of Solax.
Alice Guy 5: Independent Features.
Alice Guy 6: Cinema and the Arts.

And the Sieurin show once again in 2020.
Questions indiscrètes (1906)
Une heroïne de quatres ans (1908)
Comment Monsieur prend son bain (1903)
Le vrai jiu-jitsu, Questions indiscrètes, La Vie du Christ (33 min)
Sur la barricade (1907)

In Pordenone's Le Giornate del Cinema Muto I have seen
The Great Adventure (1918)
La Femme collante
Madame a des envies (1907)
Algie the Miner (1912)
La Fiancée du volontaire (1907)
La Naissance, la vie et la mort du Christ : La Flagellation, Ecce Homo, La Crucifixion,  L’Agonie (1906)
A Fool and His Money (1912)
Chien jouant à la balle (1905)
La Charité du prestidigitateur (1905)

Nordic Meeting 2008
La Fée aux choux.
Chapellerie et charcuterie automatiques.

Berlin Film Festival 1995
La Statue (1905)

*) 1 Feb 2024: I have just bought a new edition:
Alice Guy : La Fée-Cinéma : Autobiographie d'une pionnière. (Posthumous. First edition : Paris : Denoël / Gonthier, 1976). Paris : Gallimard, 2023. 233 pp. ISBN : 978-2-07-296078-9. Extra features include:
- Préface Céline Sciamma : "Les preuves d'Alice Guy" (2022)
- Préface Nathalie Masduraud & Valérie Urrea : "La femme à la caméra" (2022)
- Épilogue : Lettre de Simone Blaché-Bolton, 29 avril 1975
- Préface de Nicole-Lise Bernheim à l'édition de 1976
- Préface de Claire Clouzot à l'édition de 1976
- Extrait d'une lettre d'Alice Guy à Louis Gaumont en février 1931 (fac-similé)
- Annotations d'Alice Guy en marge d'une "Notice sur les établissements Gaumont" (fac-similé)