Fight scenes are about visual spectacle, power dynamics, adding thrills and tension. They change the stakes quickly and move a film forward. When women are put in this environment they add something different… often a touch of unnecessary sexuality and silly recurring tropes.
Thankfully these tropes seem to be fading with the introduction of more well-rounded female action heroes whose power and skill is more important than how their body looks.
Perhaps with one last kick in the face, we can leave these tropes in the dust.
The Muppets have been going strong since they first hit screens in 1955 on a local Washington DC show “Sam & Friends”. They have had numerous feature films and TV shows, adapting to stay current and accessible to new audiences.
The latest show “Muppets Now” on Disney+ sees them embracing digital technologies even more with video calls (via a new service adorably called “Rainbow Connector”), vlogging and streaming.
With the release of this new incarnation, it’s the perfect time to delve into the Muppet world. Everyone loves Kermit, Gonzo and Animal but what about the top 5 female Muppets?
Note that this is just about “The Muppets”, not Sesame Street or Fraggles. Don’t start on the difference, that’s huge a can of worms.
The 2020 “We Are One” Global Film Festival runs 29 May to 7th June. This is a free online festival hosted on YouTube and curated by the best international film festivals in the world. Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, London, Berlinale, Tokyo, Sydney, Annecy, TIFF, you name it they have something for you.
The films each have a set start time but most are available for around a week afterwards for you to watch whenever you want. How else would they cater for all the time zones.
There are shorts, 360 virtual reality films, panel talks and features. It’s giving me the chance to scratch a few more countries off my watched-film-scratch-off-map, with offerings from all around the world.
Here are five feature films which have caught my eye.
Crazy World (2019)
Available from 2pm EST / 7PM BST on 29th May
Toronto International Film Festival
This is a no-budget comedy action film from Uganda. It’s about a child kidnapper who accidentally kidnaps a group of child kung-fu masters. It’s described as a “bonkers, stylistically ingenious thrill ride”.
The stills for this film look unashamedly exuberant. A machine gun blaring, terrible CGI fire effects in the background and a look of screaming intensity on the man’s face. I can’t wait to see what can be made with no budget that would cause the Toronto International Film Festival to put it forwards for We Are One.
I’m also intrigued to see what messages the film has about child kidnapping and how that translates to the action thrill ride we’re promised.
Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops (2017)
From 3.30pm EST / 8.30pm BST on 4th June
Tokyo International Film Festival
This is a Japanese film about teenagers who discover they can’t put on their play but rehearse it anyway. Described as a “mesmerising shape shifter”, it’s a single take film which takes place over the course of a few months.
It’s a coming of age tale which “probes the subversive possibilities of performance in a world that claims to have no place for it”. The stills look slightly sombre, perhaps reflecting the “emotionally demanding” nature of the play.
Having seen the epic single-take effect of “1917”, and the genuine one shot single take (and split screen) ingenuity of “Last Call” I’m really interested to see how these filmmakers turn events of a few months into a single shot.
Mugaritz Bso (2011)
From 11am EST / 4pm BST on 30th May
San Sebastian International Film Festival
This is a documentary about chef Andoni Luis Aduriz and musician Filipe Ugarte who worked on a project to transform a restaurant menu into a musical experience.
The film “simmers with joyful creativity” and the stills show a mixture of serious musicians and delicious looking food.
I’m really interested in how the film itself might try to evoke the senses, given the subject matter. And how you would even begin to turn a menu into music.
Mystery Road (2013)
From 8.05am EST / 1.05pm BST on 7th June
Sydney Film Festival
This drama is about an indigenous Australian cowboy who is a new recruit to the police force. A murder victim is found and our protagonist hunts for the killers.
Described as “…a startling social thriller about racial tensions in contemporary Australia”, I’m looking forward to seeing different (or will it be the same?) ways in which race and racism is embedded in a society. I hope to learn something about the Aboriginal communities and the risks they face.
The stills don’t look like they give too much away aside from looking serious, thrilling and dusty.
Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy
From 2.20pm EST / 7.20pm BST on 3rd June
Venice International Film Festival
This film from Thailand is about a teenager in a state of great change. In this moment she confides in a friend but strange things keep happening to her, with dream sequences, imaginations and impulse buying a jellyfish.
Described as “…a candid coming-of-age story, blending fantasy with reality”, the inspiration behind the film is particularly interesting. Filmmaker Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit used 410 consecutive tweets from an anonymous twitter account as inspiration. I wonder how the stream of consciousness will come across and how the filmmakers managed to give life to anonymous thoughts.
I’m also intrigued by the title. Why repeat it twice? I’ll have to watch and find out.
On 21st November Anita Sarkeesian tweeted to highlight the lack of female characters in the first episode of Disney’s new Star Wars show "The Mandalorian" and it caused an immediate backlash.
The discourse that’s still raging raises some fairly universal arguments which are worth exploring. It’s this discourse I want to focus on here, not the accuracy or otherwise of Sarkeesian’s tweet as I have not seen "The Mandalorian".
“Am I extremely tired or is there not a single female speaking character in the first episode of #Mandelorian?? I’ve gotta have missed something right???” @anitasarkeesian
Like for most people, things changed dramatically when the covid-19 pandemic hit. I haven't updated the blog in a while but I have still been writing. So although some pieces may be a little out of date I'm still working through them.
Hi, I'm Caz. I live in Edinburgh and I watch a lot of films. My reviews focus mainly on women in film - female directors or how women are represented on screen.
8 Women (2002)
The American (2010)
April and the Extraordinary World (2015)
Baden Baden (2016)
Beau Travail (1999)
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)
Breaking Fast (2020)
Capital in the 21st Century (2019)
Coded Bias (2020)
Cook F**k Kill (2020)
Earthquake Bird (2019)
Enough Said (2013)
The Exception (2021)
Faces Places (2017)
Fanny Lye Deliver'd (2019)
First Cow (2019)
Garden State (2004)
The Gentlemen (2020)
Gods Of Molenbeek (2019)
Hail Satan? (2019)
I Am Not A Witch (2017)
Ice Poison (2014)
I Lost My Body (2019)
The Imposter (2012)
Judy and Punch (2019)
Kød & Blod (Wildland) (2020)
Last and First Men (2017)
Little Women (2019)
Thanks for Sharing (2012)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Last Call (2020)
Lego Ninjago (2017)
Making Waves: The Art Of Cinematic Sound (2019)
Mogul Mowgli (2020)
Moomins and the Winter Wonderland (2017)
Official Secrets (2019)
Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020)
Petite Fille (2020)
Queen and Slim (2020)
Rebuilding Paradise (2020)
Red Road (2006)
Saint Frances (2020)
The Sandwich Man
Shallow Grave (1994)
Shooting the Mafia (2019)
Six Suspects (1965)
System Crasher (2019)
Thursday Till Sunday (2012)
Les Traducteurs (The Translators) (2020)
Uncut Gems (2019)
Waiting for Anya (2020)
Yalda la Nuit do Pardon (2019)