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

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

" 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.

BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK: FROM THE PRODUCTION NOTES: