Friday, September 29, 2006

Nina's Heavenly Delights

It's the opening weekend for a 'sweet love story' -Nina's Heavenly Delights, a film I've been looking forward to seeing. The Guardian preview made much of the fact that it features 'an unapologetically upbeat lesbian relationship, which suggests that times have seriously changed for queer British Asians'. DIVA magazine meanwhile calls it a 'lesbian curry romcom'. Me, I'm just happy that it is now possible to watch a mainstream film in which lesbianism is no big deal. (Mainstream Hollywood only seems to 'do' gay women as shockingly deviant, titillating softcore, or the new favourite, worthy but miserable. And show me a gay female character in a mainstream movie where her lesbianism isn't the be-all and end-all of her charcterisation. It's pretty rubbish.)

What's even more rubbish is the stats on women working in the film industry. According to Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., School of Communication, San Diego State University, whose study
The Celluloid Ceiling:Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women in the Top 250 Films of 2005

'Over the last four years, the percentage of women working as directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors on the top 250 domestic grossing films has declined from 19% in 2001 to 16% in 2004. Women accounted for 7% of directors in 2005.'

'By genre, women were most likely to work on documentaries and romantic comedies and least likely to work on horror, action, and animated features. Women comprised 29% of individuals working on documentaries, followed by 27% on romantic comedies, 23% on romantic dramas, 20% on comedy/dramas, 19% on dramas, 14% on comedies and science fiction/fantasy features, 13% on action and animated features, and 8% on horror features. '

Why is this? I would have thought women were just as visionary, just as determined, just as creative as men behind the camera. Is it a content thing? A funding thing?

The feature in DIVA reveals how the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund turned down director Pratibha Parmar's funding application stating ''lesbianism has had its sell by date''‚ as one of the core reasons. This view was apparently shared by 'most film financiers'. (There you go, seems lesbianism is merely a passing craze. Perhaps I had better get down the road to local ''boho dyke hotspot Stoke Newington'' (c) my friends Eva & Sophie to spread the word.)

The First Weekenders Group , which has the strategic goals of 'increasing the number of women directors working in film, television or other media, building audiences for women directed films, increasing awareness of women's contributions to film and television history, and developing a community that will increase employment opportunities for women in entertainment. By turning up to watch women-directed movies on their first weekend of opening, you can help to keep films in cinemas for longer and make a difference.'

So that's what I'll be doing, and if you want to support women in film, then bums on seats is the way forward. The ethnicity and sexual preferences of the bum's owner are not relevant: a good love story is a good love story.

Released in selected cinemas in the UK from 29th September. PG.

Reviews here, here, here and later on from me


Blogger John Angliss said...

What's more, only 19% of professors are women, despite them being more academically minded at every step of the way... What do you do to remedy a problem like that?

September 29, 2006 5:43 pm  
Anonymous Blunt said...

off topic Rachel...

have you seen this shocking story?

Best wishes to you and the other survivors.

keep up the writing girl, and good luck with your 'big decision'

September 30, 2006 12:26 am  
Blogger kris said...

I understand their point- lesbianism, even in stoke newington, had its heyday in in the mid to late 90s. They are now pushing prams and hanging out at the Blue Legume with the rest of Stoke Newington. Even I have two cats now!

September 30, 2006 8:37 am  

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