Thursday, July 27, 2006

Transcript: A Chat with Jugo.

Jugo, a recent commenter, had a small debate with me today regarding women as directors. Rather than try to summarize it all, I'm just gonna copy and paste it (with his permission). Still think that his point make take us towards a slippery slope, but why don't you decide... (PS: The only edits I made should be clearly marked.)

jugo (1:36:09 PM): I responded to your response on your blog. [See comments made on this post, "What do these titles have in common?"]
jugo (1:36:20 PM): take THAT, feminism!
jen (1:39:14 PM): You want Greats, eh?
jugo (1:39:19 PM): I really do disagree with your stance. but I'm trying to give you room to maneuver and won't go into the finer details of why.
jen (1:39:48 PM): disagree w/ what stance, that women are capable as directors and the numbers in hollywood are abysmal?
jugo (1:40:11 PM): capable to direct what?
jen (1:40:33 PM): Films! Feature length, commercially released, Films
jugo (1:40:44 PM): There's more than one type of film.
jen (1:41:05 PM): yes.... drama, romance, comedy, action, etc. lots of genres out there, but I don't think a person's gender should preclude them from making a movie.
jugo (1:41:38 PM): Aeon Flux was a film directed by a woman pretending to direct like a man. If she had focused on things like emotions, character development, things that tend to work better for female audiences and not as well for male audiences, then maybe she would have been able to recapture was good about the cartoon and it would have been a watchable movie.
jen (1:42:20 PM): I haven't seen that movie. I haven't heard much about the cartoon, except that it had a lot of gratuitous boobs in it. [EDIT/ADDITION: Who says she’s trying to direct like a man?]
jugo (1:42:56 PM): it was dark and surreal and at the end of an episode, you'd be sort of blown away and a little disturbed. at least that's how I remember it.
jen (1:43:10 PM): And the Karyn might not have wanted to direct the way she did-- studios have TREMENDOUS power over these things and can order things the way they'd like, which is towards the 16-25 male audience.
jugo (1:43:49 PM): no, even for that, it was awful. I literally couldn't watch it for more than a minute at a time because I would start to feel unsettled by the horrible directing.
jen (1:44:02 PM): tons of action movies are superficial and gloss over things like character development... why pick on one female director's mistakes when these sins are committed everyday by men?
jugo (1:44:29 PM): because men and women are different. we shouldn't be trying to erase these differences.
jen (1:45:02 PM): When I direct I don't necessarily think, gosh, I'm a chick, I'm gonna direct like a chick and then have PMS...
jen (1:47:04 PM): The mistakes that were made could have been made by anyone, and you shouldn't think that just because women have been stereotyped as sensitive and kind that they should always have that reflected in their art. You're ignoring the full range of emotion and feelings, effectively pigeon-holing an entire gender.
jugo (1:48:01 PM): unless "retarded" is an emotion, Aeon Flux doesn't count for that argument. and anyway I'm not saying women can't do certain things. I'm saying that they're different from men. we should expect differences.
jen (1:48:21 PM): Not to mention that even if those things WERE Focused on in that movie (emotions, character dev.) women might not have necessarily appreciated it since the bulk of the audience was male anyway.
jugo (1:48:38 PM): women are going to be better at some things and men are going to be better at others.
jen (1:49:41 PM): but you shouldn't treat them differently because of it. There's no norm here-- think about it-- 50 yrs ago women weren't really present as doctors or lawyers, or scientists, but these days more women are graduating w/ a bachelors than guys are. [EDIT/ADDITION: Percentage wise, at least. Check out this link for info.]
jugo (1:49:49 PM): how much the audience appreciates it doesn't make it a better or worse movie. I like the feminine angle. I need things to have emotional impact. I like watching relationships between characters. if there were more women directors, I bet we'd have more and better of that.
jen (1:50:02 PM): Given the opportunity, women can do amazing things.
jen (1:50:43 PM): Not everyone likes "thinking" movies like you do. I wish more people did. Too many movies are immediately typecast to who they're targeting and stripped down and streamlined to appeal to one audience. it's ick.
jen (1:51:18 PM): did you like K-19? that movie was incredible-- I can't watch it again, because it's too painful.
jugo (1:51:22 PM): yes, sure, fine, they can do amazing things. I would love to see them do amazing things. but following after men and doing exactly what has already been done is not the way to do that. fighting for sameness will only get you sameness. you can't fight for sameness, catch up, and then suddenly branch off into something great.
jen (1:51:23 PM): that was an action/drama.
jugo (1:51:26 PM): I never saw that one.
jen (1:51:53 PM): the peacemaker was ok too-- about what you'd expect from a summer action flick.
jen (1:53:04 PM): Thelma and Louise was an incredible movie.
jen (1:53:16 PM): written by a woman, but she wasn't allowed to direct it.
jen (1:53:21 PM): Ridley Scott directed it.
jugo (1:53:30 PM): I'm not saying women can't make good movies and I'm not saying women don't make good movies. but I think there are certain differences that women should be indulging in.
jugo (1:53:36 PM): women have an inherent advantage in some respects.
jugo (1:53:44 PM): why not use it? why throw it away for the sake of "equality"?
jen (1:53:51 PM): Later, the writer, Callie Khouri, was given something "more appropriate" to direct: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."
jugo (1:54:05 PM): haha.
jen (1:54:13 PM): she was understandably pissed.
jugo (1:54:45 PM): I think anyone would be pissed if they were asked to direct The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
jen (1:55:03 PM): It was a half decent movie, I saw it. But compared to Thelma and Louise...
jugo (1:55:43 PM): know what movie I like?
jugo (1:55:44 PM): Serenity.
jugo (1:55:48 PM): that appeals to all genders.
jugo (1:56:08 PM): Whedon has a really strong feminine side.
jen (1:56:54 PM): His stuff is also kinda kitschy though.
jugo (1:57:05 PM): his earlier stuff. Serenity is so tight.
jen (1:57:55 PM): I'll concede that there are biological differences in men and women, but I think that if you really rely on those and play them up, you're embarking on a limiting and dangerous slippery slope... limiting to both genders.
jugo (1:58:04 PM): um no
jugo (1:58:07 PM): there are psychological differences.
jugo (1:58:10 PM): serious ones.
jen (1:58:28 PM): Fine. My point remains the same.
jen (1:58:55 PM): I don't think it's a black and white issue and I think you're sorta treating as such.
jen (1:59:52 PM): anyhow-- would you be offended if I copied this conversation, edited it a little for length, and pasted it as blog post?
jugo (2:00:25 PM): go ahead. I was thinking that would be a good idea, but I wasn't going to suggest it.
jen (2:00:45 PM): I'm all about showing both sides of the argument..
jugo (2:01:07 PM): haha. there's more than two sides.
jen (2:01:35 PM): well, in this case, your opinions and mine.
jen (2:01:56 PM): two voices of the discussion with varied and multiple opinions.
jugo (2:02:10 PM): ok. better. talk to you later.
jen (2:02:49 PM): bye!

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