Female Filmmaker Friday: That’s What She Said, 2012 (dir. Carrie Preston)
I’m starting a new feature on the blog (I’ll bring Oscar Vault Monday back soon, I promise!) wherein I will discuss (sometimes at length, other times just with something brief) films directed by women. Sometimes I’ll talk about some of the bigger names and bigger films (Jane Campion, Nora Ephron, Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola), but mostly I will be focusing on smaller, lesser known films directed (and often times written) by women.
This week I am starting out with this strange film I watched on Netflix over the weekend called That’s What She Said, which was directed by actress Carrie Preston and written by actress Kellie Overbey. I’m not saying this is the best movie of all time or anything – far from it, but it is an extremely interesting one for two reasons:
- There is not a single speaking male character in the entire film – including three police officers, there are multiple sexualities depicted and most of the crew was comprised of women.
- It goes unexpected places while depicting female life and shows things I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen in a film (and I’ve seen nearly 5,000 films).
I think there’s still a bit of a “veil over female life” (to borrow from Little Women), that we rarely peek under in cinema (especially American cinema). Like, how many movies are there with men masturbating or jokes about men masturbating and then most films that show women masturbating, they’re doing it when they’re upset and crying (yes, because that’s the only time women pleasure themselves)? So, to make up for it, I think we do need more movies with yeast infection jokes and other things that women can relate to.
So much of cinema is based on the male experience (or the male version of the female experience, translated as best it can be by the actresses) that I think films that go to unexpectedly female places are often dismissed, disregarded or misunderstood because the viewers (including critics) are so used to a vocabulary so largely made up of the male experience and the male view of the world, because let’s talk about all the female filmmakers early on that got suppressed and are largely forgotten now – what would cinema look like if they had been revered all along and cinema had evolved as an art equally from the view points of both sexes? A girl can dream.
That said, you might not like this movie. It’s very much R-rated and it may not really be that well made. But I guarantee you, it will be different from most of the films you’ve been watching and if we give more films like this and more women a chance, we’ll have a more powerful voice in the world of cinema and that is so desperately needed.