Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kathryn Bigelow's iconoclastic appeal

I have always had respect for Kathryn Bigelow. This is based entirely on seeing only one of her films (Blue Steel (1990) with Jamie Lee Curtis, someone whose work I also like)..... Perhaps what I like most about her is her refusing to fit directing stereotypes. She doesn't make schmaltzy romantic movies or even necessarily ones about "relationships." There are other female directors who don't either of course. But Bigelo brings a kind of iconclastic edge to her movie topics, such as Point Break (1991 with Keanu Reeves), another crime picture, or  K-19: The Widowmaker (2002 with Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard & Harrison Ford), set in the claustrophic confines of a nuclear sub. However, The Weight of Water (2000 with Catherine McCormack, Sean Penn & Elizabeth Hurley) has overlapping crime and relationship - though of the introspective kind - themes...... She has broken the mold again with The Hurt Locker about an Iraqi bomb disposal team......This is the only film that has come out of the U.S. which isn't avowedly anti-war or anti-U.S- invasion. Audiences on both sides of the political spectrum have praised it..... From all reports the film is really about the human drama of the disposal team itself and the searing intensity of being in the malestrom of battle. It packs an edge-of-seat, emotional wallop...... For this Bigelow is the toast of the film world. The picture is nominated for nine Oscars, tieing ex-husband James Cameron's boffo box office Avatar. It has already won 30 awards.....Bigelow's bio is interesting. She came to film from the art world, as a painter and fellow at New York's Whitney Museum. At Columbia she studied criticism and theory under Susan Sontag.....I'm hoping she will win both best picture and director on March 7th but I suppose it would be a stretch for the Academy to give her both, given Avatar's mass rankings......Nevertheless Go Kathryn!

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