“Claire Danes Flaunts Post-Baby Body” was the headline ABC News chose to begin its Golden Globe online coverage. Then there was all the media fuss about what many thought Jodie Foster was going to say.
But if one looks beyond the headlines to the past year’s statistics, women have been some discernable gains in the notoriously male-dominated movie industry.
Last year nearly 10 percent of the top box office earners were made by women directors, nearly double that of 2011.Similar statistics characterize overall
employment in the entertainment industry, with UC San Diego’s Celluloid Ceiling report saying that women now account for 11 percent of movie jobs of all kinds.
Obviously it’s going to be a long haul, as discussed in a recent New York Times article:
“The storyteller’s gender matters. When more than nine-tenths of movies are made from the male perspective, said B. Ruby Rich, the film critic and professor at University of California, Santa Cruz, ‘it unconsciously reinforces the invisibility of women.’ A 2011 University of Southern California study examining the top 100 box office releases between 2007 and 2009 found that in films directed by men, 29 percent of the characters were female; in those by women 48 percent of the characters were.
Still, “A scan of the 2012 films by women shows a broad spectrum of genres and styles. There are fact-based thrillers by veteran directors like Kathryn Bigelow (‘Zero Dark Thirty’) and Agnieszka Holland (‘In Darkness’). There are off-center comedies by rookies like Jennifer Westfeldt (‘Friends With Kids’) and Lorene Scafaria (‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’). There is the faith-based ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the Seventh Day,’ Neema Barnette’s redemption story of a family in crisis.
“Not only are the subjects diverse, so too are the directors. The majority hail from North America, including Mexico-born Patricia Riggen, maker of ‘Girl in Progress,’ a coming-of-age-comedy, and the Canadian Sarah Polley, whose ‘Take This Waltz’ explored romance both inside and outside marriage. Two are from France: Julie Delpy, director of the raucous family comedy ‘2 Days in New York,’ and Lorraine Levy, director of ‘The Other Son,’ a sober parable of tolerance about a Palestinian and an Israeli youth switched at birth. The Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki made a comic parable of tolerance, ‘Where Do We Go Now?,’ mediating conflicts between Christian and Muslim characters.”