Sally Potter

Ginger and Rosa AFI FEST

Editor’s note: Daniel Walber’s review originally ran during NYFF 2012, but we’re re-running it as the film’s limited theatrical release begins this weekend. The personal is political. This adage, one of the seminal concepts to come out of the Feminist Movement in the late 1960s, began with a very specific meaning. The idea was that, given oppression on a societal level, the specific problems facing women in their daily lives necessarily took on larger significance. While it wasn’t actually written down until a 1969 essay by Carol Hanisch, it had been an unspoken truth for a long time. Seven years earlier, when the Cuban Missile Crisis rocked the world’s already fragile sense of security, it manifested in the way that revolutionary men took to the streets yet still expected nothing more of the women in their lives than a well-cooked plate of food and a prompt cup of tea. In her new film, Sally Potter takes stays true to the initial spirit of that revolutionary aphorism while simultaneously making it double. Ginger and Rosa  tells the tale of a teenage girl adrift in London during that panic-stricken summer of 1962. With a relaxed sense of style and a precisely poetic screenplay, Potter has created a film of twinned metaphors. The personal crises of her characters stand in for the anxieties of a nuclear world, while the activist Left and its political struggles against the bomb echo the deeply intimate troubles of teenage love and family strife. The personal becomes political while […]

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Ginger and Rosa AFI FEST

Coasting freely through the festival circuit, Sally Potter‘s Ginger and Rosa earned a lot of accolades, including from our own reviewer. The film focuses on two girls (Elle Fanning and Alice Englert) who dress the same, keep their hair the same length and otherwise stick as close as best friends can. Set in the Nuclear 60s, their paths start to diverge after Ginger’s peace activist father stirs the pot with bad parenting and undeniable charisma. The trailer (via The Playlist) gives us all a strong idea of why the film captured so much attention. Both inwardly emotional and outwardly provocative, the power of this story is on full display alongside a stellar cast. Check it out for yourself:

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The Best Damn Oscar Blog

The Academy is voting! Nomination polls opened on December 17th and close on January 3rd. The two and a half week period might seem like a long time, but it’s going to go by in the blink of an eye, especially with Christmas and the New Year right in the middle. As voters pick through their piles of screeners and decide what to watch, I certainly hope that they dig deep enough to find some of the year’s best unheralded work. In fact, I’m going to suggest a few things. At this point much of the “don’t miss this movie!” conversation has been around performances, a valid pursuit if there ever was one. However, there’s also plenty of under-discussed work in “below the line” categories. Here’s a wish list, five extremely unlikely but entirely deserving nominations that would make me a very happy blogger.

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THR Directors Roundtable 2012

One of the highlights of the Oscar season is the series of round table discussions produced by The Hollywood Reporter, and for good reason. We spend much of the fall and winter comparing drastically different films only on the most basic of levels, who is deserving of awards and who isn’t. Any real conversation between the creators of the best movies of the year is therefore worth watching. Unfortunately, the list of the participants is not often as diverse as the films themselves. This year’s directors’ round table was made up entirely of men, as was the one last year. The same is true of this year’s writers’ panel. Meanwhile, the one real opportunity for us to hear a genuine dialog between women in cinema, the actresses’ panel, was bungled by the typical soft and silly questions that plague American actresses. As Monika Bartyzel so astutely points out in her piece over at Movies.com, it might not be intentional on the part of THR but that doesn’t make it any less problematic.

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Some actors worry about keeping strict control over how the world perceives them and making sure that they don’t get typecast, but Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks seems to think that if you look that good dressed up in the garb of the period, why not follow up your head turning, 60s-set breakout performance with another role steeped in the same decade? To that end, she has accepted a role in director Sally Potter’s upcoming anti-nuke movie Bomb, which tells the tale of a couple of teenage girls who become part of the Ban the Bomb movement and also learn a little bit about free love and their own blossoming sexuality along the way.There isn’t yet any word on what role Hendricks will play in the film, but she joins a cast that already includes Elle Fanning and Alice Englert as the main girls, and is also rumored to soon pick up names like Alessandro Nivola and Annette Bening as well.

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For an industry that is viewed reductively by much of middle America as being politically left-leaning to the point of being out-of-touch with the rest of the country, Hollywood has shown a stagnant lack of progress in terms of gender equality. Actresses’ careers are in jeopardy as soon as they hit 35, it always seems like there’s a dearth of good roles for women, and much of the business behind the camera is dominated by a boys’ club. Particularly striking are the lack of female directors.

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This week’s Culture Warrior says that cinema is the ultimate form of art. And it has nothing to do with ‘Avatar.’ Seriously, it doesn’t.

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