Instead of frequent ramblings on Facebook I thought I'd compile them into a much more sensible blog post. I have a blog right here after all. Ideally I'll do this weekly but... we'll see.
A huge talking point at the moment is awards season and the upcoming Oscar nominations. There is currently no outlet with rights to show the Oscars ceremony live in the UK (starting 11.30pm on 9th February) so I am nervous about being able to watch it Following the results annoucements on Twitter just won't cut it.
I’ll be watching the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards with interest when the winners are annunced on 2nd February. Which of the white actors will win all of the best acting awards? Which of the men will win best director?
I did put a bet on FOR SAMA to win Best Outstanding British Film at the BAFTAs although it’s up against 1917 so I don’t think it has a chance to be honest. I just really want to see it do well! If it gets a Best Documentary nomination at the Oscars it’s getting my money.
New to Streaming (UK)
Our friends over at Just Watch gave me a scare when they advertised that THE FAREWELL was available to rent on Amazon UK for 99p. Alas it was an error but there were still a lot of great films made available to stream this week.
What I've Been Watching
This week I only watched a few films as I was in London for three days on a work trip.
I took the opportunty to see KNIVES OUT again while it's still at cinemas. Not quite as good a second time around just because I already knew the twists and turns. But it was still excellent fun. It wouldn't suffer from being on the small screen so if you're not able to get out to the cinema keep an eye out for this on streaming.
I'm marking THE IRISHMAN as watched although I only got half way through before falling asleep. So far I do not care about any characters whatsoever. But I'll rewind a bit and try again for the second half.
No doubt 1917 will receive multiple Oscar nominations and may even win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. It's made to look like one continuous shot and this is amazingly well done. It is a bit distracting at the beginning though.
Sexual Assault in ELLE
I saw ELLE in order to write about it for a piece on Isabelle Huppert. It was an incredibly difficult watch, being about sexual assault and showing several scenes of rape. When that piece is published on In Their Own League I'll add the link so you can read about that film and why Isabelle Huppert is amazing.
What I don't mention in that article (because wordcount) is how it reminded me of a couple of scenes in STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET (1960). In one utterly infuriating scene Maggie (Kim Novak) recounts being sexually assaulted in her own home. Her lover Larry (Kirk Douglas) immediately blames her. He says she deliberately left the door unlocked and took sleeping tablets not because the attack was inevitable and she was powerless both in that situation and in society, but because she wanted it to happen.
It's presented in an unusal way with just her mouth in the foreground and his reaction to the side is what we focus on (ref The Menkes List fragmenting of women's bodies). Her trauma is immediately dismissed and she is given 100% of the blame.
This is the most egregious example of post-war misogyny I've seen so far in film.
Later in the film Larry's wife Eve (Barbara Rush) is almost attacked in her own home by her neighbour Felix (Walter Matthau). The "logic" being that she was a piece of property that had been abandoned (her husband was having an affiar) so it was apparently ok for him to have sex with her.
That scene was very nearly as harrowing as Michele's (Isabelle Huppert) repeated rapes in ELLE despite us not seeing anything happen to Eve.
It was harrowing because you knew Felix's intentions, you knew Eve was vulnerable, and you knew that her only means of escape would be to appease or manipulate him. She couldn't overpower him or scream for help and if she were to escalate the situation he would turn violent.
So you watch the scene unfold while clinging to your chair and screaming for her to get out. Almost every woman knows that feeling of being with an unsafe person they need to placate.
Even our hero Elaine (Julia Louis Dreyfuss) in SEINFELD had to escape from Crazy Joe Davola's apartment when she discovered he'd been stalking her. He was blocking the door so she had to keep him talking, move calmly, pretend she was doing something else. Then run.
When you watch the clip below which has the laughter removed it's quite terrifying. Not shown in this clip is Elaine stalling for time to find a spray in her handbag while he holds the door closed. She manages to spray him in the face and run away.
Anyway that's all to say that ELLE was massively uncomfortable to watch but raised some really important themes about women's reactions to assault and how they can remain in control of their lives even when they're not safe in their own homes.
On that note I'll leave you with news that my night classes start this week. I'm taking a class on film theory and criticism and another on filmmaking.
Hopefully by the end I'll have a much better grasp of the kinds of practical and creative decisions that go into making a film, as well as being much better at understanding film theory and able to write better reviews.
Stay tuned for updated on how those classes are going.
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.