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Film Archives – FutureFemme

From 'Psycho' to 'The Birds', here’s our ranking of Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies in terms of female representation.

Ranking Alfred Hitchcock’s best films for female representation

By News

Between his famously sketchy on-set treatment of women to his depiction of them in his movies, Alfred Hitchcock remains a divisive filmmaker when it comes to women. Between the female stars he cast and the characters he cast them as, the director has repeatedly been criticized for a punishing perspective of women.

In his book Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life, Peter Ackroyd suggested that Hitchcock’s often perverse personal perspective of women seeped through into his cinematic one.  

“The sexual fantasies of his adult life were lavish and peculiar, and, from the evidence of his films, he enjoyed devising the rape and murder of women.”

Meanwhile, Roger Ebert once suggested that the “blond . . . icy and remote” women of Hitchcock’s movies were all treated in a similar manner: “Sooner or later, every Hitchcock woman was humiliated.”

However, while there are certainly some films we agree on regarding this, there are other Hitchcock movies that actually provide captivating and unusual depictions of women that were well ahead of their time.

Here’s our ranking of Hitchcock’s best movies in terms of female representation.

12. Strangers on a Train (1951)

Hitchcock’s suspenseful conspiratorial film noir (based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name) is an undoubted masterpiece of intrigue – even if the subtextual use of the “depraved homosexual” trope in the character of Bruno (Robert Walker) is irksome in retrospect.

Though Miriam (Laura Elliott) is a promiscuous monster murdered for her cold-hearted lascivious ways, the rest of the women in the movie remain on the periphery of the story as moral radars, pointing as to whom they think is innocent or guilty.

11. North by Northwest (1959)

Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) is a female character as defined by her duplicity in the story, as she is by her staggering beauty and sensuality.

As a result, the character is made love to on a train by Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and dragged along Mount Rushmore like a woman forced on a hiking expedition for a first date. However, she’s far more integral to the story than Hitchcock’s wanton gaze of her suggests.

10. To Catch a Thief (1955)

It’s Grace Kelly and Cary Grant enjoying a romantic vacay together! The romantic caper is charming and dazzling, if a little overly simplistic.

Still, the chemistry between Grant and Kelly is lit as ever and Frances Stevens (Kelly) is a hot-headed gem of a character with an audacious love for danger that’s delightful to watch.

9. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Doris Day is an unexpected standout in this thriller where she plays a female character who capably subverts Hitchcock’s usual icy blondes. Not only is she sweet and tender as the mother of a boy snatched by a terrorist organization, but she’s also dynamic and tenacious in her bid to save him.

8. Dial M for Murder (1954)

Margot Wendice (Kelly) using a pair of scissors to stab her attempted murderer is one of the most powerful images of Hitchcock’s overall ouvre – particularly as it shows a woman repurposing a domestic instrument into being an object of violent survival.

Aside from that, however, Margot isn’t the greatest Hitchcock heroine ever devised and she’s also the only main female character surrounded by male detectives, killers, and lovers.

7. Vertigo (1958)

Much has been said about how Vertigo (no matter how important a movie) is “still considered the last word in misogynistic creepiness,” as Kim Novak takes on dual ones, one of which is shaped into the ultimate fetish doll of James Stewart’s Scottie.

However, as The Guardian once suggested, there’s an argument to be made that Vertigo “is not an example of misogyny, but an overblown, beautiful and tragic deconstruction of it.”

6. Rear Window (1954)

It could be argued that via the voyeurism of Jefferies (Stewart), Rear Window is a tribute to the perverse power of the male gaze and that women don’t particularly factor into that narrative as active participants.

However, Thelma Ritter is exceptional as Jefferies’s quippy nurse and Kelly is as bodacious and intelligent a heroine as you could ever hope to see – even if we only touch the surface of her intrepid character.

5. Rebecca (1940)

The gothic melodrama based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel features one of Hitchcock’s most intriguing and chilling lead female characters in the form of Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) – a lonely housekeeper obsessed with the dead wife of her master.

The psychological back and forth between the character and the long-suffering Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine) makes Rebecca a rare Hitchcock movie that revolves around two lead female characters in peculiar roles.

4. Notorious (1946)

One of Hitchcock’s rare attempts at romance actually draws an incredibly complex female character in the form of Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) – an undercover spy tasked with infiltrating a group of Nazis in South America.

Alicia’s mission becomes complicated by her falling in love with co-worker Devlin (Grant) while marrying family friend Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), but her role is never undermined by the romance. Alicia remains a powerful portrait struggling to consolidate her desires to do right by herself, her family, and her country.

3. The Birds (1963)

The behind the scenes cruelty and sexual harassment of model-turned-actress Tippi Hedren at the hands of Hitchcock during the making of the film has been well documented and is galling to revisit in full. However, Hedren’s character (Melanie Daniels) is one of Hitchcock’s finest.

Daniels is a firebrand of a woman – a free spirit and a prankster who does whatever the fuck she wants. However, when nature starts going apeshit, it’s fascinating to see the vulnerability splinter through the cool veneer even as she fights back.

2. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

One of the most underrated and influential characters in cinema history has to be Charlotte (Teresa Wright) – a dissatisfied angst-ridden teenager who starts to suspect the uncle she idolizes might actually be a serial killer.

The noir mystery hits some subtle incest beats that are challenging to get past, but ultimately Charlotte is compellingly complex. She’s a young woman fighting for survival and for peace of mind while also losing a pivotal part of her innocence in the process.

1. Psycho (1960)

All shower slaughter and voyeuristic glimpses of nudity aside, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is a subversive female character (particularly for the time) who simply seeks self-gratification and freedom at whatever cost.

Likewise, her sister Lila (Vera Miles) is arguably the first archetypal final girl of horror, refusing to back down in her investigation of her sister’s disappearance and showing true tenacity in her disturbing search for answers.

There are a handful of period films that rise above the stereotypes of the genre, and we’re here to celebrate these films with this romantical listicle.

Five period romance films any feminist can love

By News

The period romance is back, ladies and gents! With the recent release of Michael Mayer’s much anticipated period film The Seagull and Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley, there’s a lot for fans of the genre to celebrate, but there’s also a lot to question.

Films set in the past often present women as damsels in distress, stuck in male-dominated worlds that would never fly today except in pretty Hollywood remakes of Jane Austen novels.

That said, there are a handful of period films that rise above the stereotypes of the genre and we’re here to celebrate these films with this romantical listicle.

Mona Lisa Smile

Give us a film that honors adventure and travel over some sleazy asshole who has sex with his students any day. We love this movie because it interrogates what feminism actually means – does it mean a right to choose or does it mean breaking the mold? Mona Lisa Smile is a film that gives you all the joys of any good romantic film, but will ultimately leave you whooping when the heroine (Julia Roberts) ends up on her own, with adventure as her only companion.

Love & Friendship

Although Jane Austen is great, she is a product of 18th and 19th century England, which (lets face it) wasn’t exactly known as a time for gender equality. That said, Whit Stillman’s brilliant Love & Friendship is the wittiest, most biting, most Austen-esque film to be made based on the writer’s work. The film’s heroine – Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) – is as fierce as she is cunning and would even make Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth (Pride & Prejudice) balk at her audacity.

Far From the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd is really less of a romance film and more of a coming-of-age one, as we watch Bathsheba Everdene (played the lovely Carey Mulligan) choose herself and her needs above all else.

Belle

It’s through love that our protagonist – Dido Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) – ultimately seems to change, rather than the change coming from herself and her own desires. That said, it makes the list because it incorporates some diversity into a genre that is so whitewashed it hurts. Here’s a period film that features a badass woman of color is its lead, portrayed with excellence by actress Amma Asante.

Outlander

Yes, we know – Outlander is a TV show. But if you truly want to dive into a period romance that upholds strong feminist values, you’ve gotta give it a watch. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is the ultimate feminist heroine, primarily because she isn’t from the 1700s. Perhaps it’s only through time travel that Hollywood can give us a truly progressive heroine in a period setting. Either way, we’re living for Outlander and we hope you are too!

With news of a standalone 'Black Widow' film heating up again, we thought we’d take a look at all of the fierce female characters of MCU who we think deserve their own movies. Badass boss bitches, assemble!

The Marvel heroines who need their own movies

By News

Although news surrounding the standalone Black Widow movie had gone quiet since January, it heated up again back in July as it was revealed the mega-franchise was scouting directors for the job.

As the MCU fandom rejoice (and teenage boys across the world ready themselves for the most exciting ride of their lives), we thought we’d take a look at all of the fierce female characters of MCU who we think deserve their own movies. Badass boss bitches, assemble! Who will win their own movies in the next year?

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Yes, there might be a fair few plot holes surrounding Gamora, Thanos, and her home planet, but that’s by no means her fault and if anything, a standalone movie would serve as an opportunity for Marvel to explain itself. Plot holes aside, Zoe Saldana reprising her role as the green-skinned goddess to kick some butt in her own standalone movie is something we would pay good money to see.

Elektra (Elodie Yung) – Daredevil (2015-)

Last year, Daredevil and The Defenders actress Elodie Yung got our hearts pumping when she said she was open to reprising her role as Elektra in the MCU. Since then, we’ve heard nada about a potential movie with Yung at the center, but we’re still keeping those fingers crossed in the hope that Hand’s top assassin will return in some capacity, if only to see more of her wicked sword skills.

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) – Jessica Jones (2015-)

A movie centered on Jessica Jones? Erm, hello? Massive potential to make one of the darkest comedy features in the MCU. She’s had her own TV show, so why not give her a feature-length flick? Just imagine the sardonic titular character (reluctantly) carrying out her PI duties, only for Kilgrave to return and Jessica to kick his butt one last time, before and / or after chugging a 1L bottle of JD. It writes itself!

Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) – Iron Fist (2017-)

Colleen was an absolute highlight of Iron Fist and with her history as a master of Bushido, she quickly proved to be a steady companion for Danny (Finn Jones). As a capable fighter with powerful alliances and scene-stealing skills, we have no doubt she’d slay on the big screen as she does on the small one.

Misty Knight (Simone Missick) – Luke Cage (2016-)

As CBR put it, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe had more than its share of strong, powerful woman, but Misty Knight was like no other.” Portrayed by the glorious Simone Missick, this headstrong detective soon proved herself as a force to be reckoned with, taking no shit from the likes of Cottonmouth and Mariah Dillard. We’d love to see her in her own standalone movie, or better yet, see her team up with Colleen for a Daughters of the Dragon movie. Could. You. Imagine.

Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) – Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Jaimie Alexander’s Asgardian warrior quickly became a fan fave in Thor and Thor: The Dark World for good reason – she’s a feared fighter and, now the Marvel writers have started to embrace the character, has enjoyed stories that highlighted her skills, unquenchable spirit, and battle prowess. We’d love to see more from this engine of destruction.

Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) – Black Panther (2018)

Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther gave birth to some of the most badass female superheroes in the MCU, one of those being Nakia, played by the glorious Lupita Nyong’o. She’s a wonderful woman of Wakanda – intelligent, crafty, and lethal – making her an ideal candidate for a standalone movie.

Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

We’d love a Valkyrie movie just so we could spend 120 minutes crushing on Tessa Thompson. She’s a badass fighting machine too, obviously, and brings some much-needed humor to the MCU. In contrast to her male counterparts, Valkyrie is a force of nature who subverts all tropes often surrounding the female characters of the Marvel comic books. As Little White Lies pointed out, her battle feels “as emotionally significant as Thor’s” and it’s for this reason we’d love to see her journey played out in her own feature-length film. It makes sense Marvel, and you know it!

Shuri (Letitia Wright) – Black Panther (2018)

Letitia Wright (Black Mirror) is having a moment and we’re with her every step of the way. Portraying Shuri – the Princess of Wakanda, sister of T’Challa, daughter of T’Chaka & Ramonda, and the leader of the Wakandan Design Group – Wright was absolutely outstanding as the tech guru with a big brain and a sharp tongue and could easily hold her own in a Shuri-centered movie.

She-Hulk

Okay, so we haven’t seen She-Hulk enter the MCU yet. But we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – MCU needs to make She-Hulk a reality. Just imagine the levels of badassery of the big green beast in female form on the big screen. Especially since she’s a total boss bitch who is fully in control of her own body with a strong intellect and sharp-as-knife wit. Please MCU . . . please!

Ranking Kristen Bell’s snarkiest roles

By News

Like Father landing on Netflix in July, starring Kristen Bell as a woman unexpectedly reunited with her estranged father (Kelsey Grammer) after she’s ditched at the altar on her wedding day.

Naturally, a bender ensues (because what the hell else are you gonna do when you get dumped like that?) and Bell’s character wakes up aboard her honeymoon cruise with ole Pops in tow. Oh, and Seth Rogen also turns up on board to provide some “rebound assistance” to the lady – if you know what we mean.

The movie is filled with the kind of lighthearted yet heartwarming japes we need after a long mind-melting day. It’s also one that utilizes all of Bell’s best skills – her adorable sincerity, her luminous charisma, and (most importantly) her sharp acerbic sense of snark.

We’re huge fans of the multi-talented actor and have been for a long time. Which is why we’re kind of the experts on what her greatest roles have been in her career so far. Here’s our ranking of our favorite sassiest and snarkiest performances from Bell so far.

14. Flora Anderson: Deadwood (2004)

The teenage conartist didn’t fare well in the mean streets of Deadwood. Poor Flora didn’t win. Turns out those old boys were wise to the tricks her and her brother were trying to pull and they were both savagely murdered for it. Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

13. Sarah Marshall: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Depicting an actress who plays a sassy on-screen crime fighter (hmm, sounds familiar somehow), Bell’s talents are woefully underused in this Judd Apatow production in which she plays a bitchy ex of Jason Segel’s everyday schlub.

12. Nikki: Burlesque (2010)

People forget that Bell donned a darker look to star alongside Cher and Christina Aguilera in this musical flop that’s become a bad movie cult classic. But honestly? She’s kind of terrific in it!

11. Veronica Mars / Kristen Bell: Play It Again, Dick (2014)

Ryan Hansen’s web series spinoff of Veronica Mars helped to promote the release of the highly anticipated Veronica Mars movie. The show’s cast reunited for the quirky meta-series, playing versions of themselves clearly exhausted by Hansen’s determination to develop a Dick Casablancas spinoff.

Naturally, this meant Bell plays a caustic version of herself similar to her guest appearance in the show Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television.

10. Kristen Bell: iZombie (2016)

Though her cameo is brief in the one episode of the Rob Thomas horror-crime comedy, it’s also stupendous. Particularly to hear Liv (Rose McIver) declare she’s always felt a “connection” to Bell before listening to the actor narrating an erotic audiobook.

9. Ingrid De Forest: Parks and Recreation (2013-2014)

One of many of Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) bureaucratic foes, De Forest is mean, manipulative, and mercifully revealed to be inept – and Bell is pure comedy gold in the role.

8. Elle Bishop: Heroes (2007-2008)

A complex antihero with the power of electronic manipulation, Elle is deeply unstable but is also utterly captivating. A major part of that is thanks to Bell’s incredible charisma in the role – arguably the actor’s real-life superpower.

7. Uda Bengt: Party Down (2009-2010)

As the uptight leader of Valhalla Catering, Bell clearly delights in being able to fire off sharp, savage snipes against the poor hapless bastards of the catering team. Uda is a veritable nightmare, busting Ron’s (Ken Marino) balls at every opportunity and taking an unexpected shine to Henry (Adam Scott).

6. Anna: Frozen (2013)

If you don’t know every word to “Let it Go” thanks to your love for Bell, you’re either utterly lying or don’t have a ten year old niece you babysit all the time.

5. Kiki: Bad Moms (2016)

If there’s one thing we love, it’s seeing Bell getting down with her bad self and pushing her comedic skills to full capacity. Opposite Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn, the star parties like a mother and lets her sardonic side shine.

4. Chloe: Scream 4 (2011)

Scream 4 is easily one of the most fun horror films of the past decade, with a genius opening act that reveals a Stab film within a Stab film within a Scream film that catches the audience up on the previous decade of horror.

Bell plays a surprising Stab character who murders her bestie (Anna Paquin) for talking too much, telling her dying pal, “shut the fuck up and watch the movie.”

3. Gossip Girl: Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

As the voice of salacious blogger Gossip Girl (your one and only source in the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite), Bell is probably the greatest TV show narrator of all time. Every line drips with sass, snark, and sophistication.

We’re still disappointed a certain Lonely Boy (Penn Badgley) was revealed to have been the trashy blogger the whole time (and, frankly, confused), but we were at least happy to see Bell enjoy a cameo in the final episode opposite Rachel Bilson.

2. Eleanor Shellstrop: The Good Place (2016-)

Fork yeah! The NBC comedy has only been on the air for two years, but we’re already completely taken with Bell’s complex portrayal of bad-girl-making-good Eleanor. The character is mischievous and selfish, but with the help of Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Good Place engineer Michael (Ted Danson), she’s coming round to the idea of being her best self.

The character’s journey (and Bell’s depiction of her growth) is subsequently as funny as it is heartwarming.

1. Veronica Mars: Veronica Mars (2004-2007)

The sassiest, smartest, snarkiest teenage detective the world has ever seen, Veronica Mars is probably the role most fans fell in love with Bell for.

The self-proclaimed Marshmallow (as defined in the 2014 movie, at least) used her diminutive and adorable looks to her advantage to take down the crooks of Neptune and gain access to just about wherever the hell she wanted.

Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee.

10 reasons to fall in love with Greta Gerwig

By News

Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more.

The buzz surrounding this multi-talented figure reached peak this year with the release of her endlessly brilliant Oscar-nominated Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) as a teenager trying to navigate herself through kidulthood in the unglamorous setting of Sacramento, California.

It was an absolute cinematic feat from the evidently witty & charming director, which is why we’re delighted at the news Gerwig is planning a series of Sacramento-based spiritual sequels to the film, inspired by the mysterious works of author Elena Ferrante.

While this is all fabulous news, we’re here to celebrate the actor / writer / director’s brilliance before Lady Bird. After all, Gerwig’s talent has been dazzling us for years, from her roles as one of the preeminent actresses in “mumblecore” films to her writing collaborations with director Noah Baumbach. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee:

The Dish & the Spoon (2011)

In this exquisitely charming indie love flick, Gerwig stars as a woman reeling over her husband’s infidelity. As she embarks on a journey to find her spouse’s lover, she collides with an English boy (Olly Alexander), who travels with her out of infatuation. What’s great about Alison Bagnall’s flick is it avoids all the tropes of a cliche boy-meets-girl kind of movie, with Gerwig’s performance making the tender drama all the more convincing.

Wiener-Dog (2016)

As always, Gerwig brings quirky comfort in another quirky film alongside Danny DeVito (Batman Returns), Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down), and Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream). The story centers around a dachshund taken in by a veterinary technician named Dawn Wiener (Gerwig), who soon sets off on a road trip with a guy who’s on a game to find crystal meth. What’s not to love?

The House of the Devil (2009)

Stepping out of her mumblecore pants and into her horror ones, Gerwig takes a different kinda role in Ti West’s The House of the Devil. Despite her relentlessly nonchalant vibe, Gerwig pulls off the performance as the protagonist and eventual victim’s (Jocelin Donahue) best friend with convincibility, even when she’s getting her face blown off.

Lola Versus (2012)

Gerwig has such a knack for depicting the charmingly human weaknesses we all secretly possess – in the case of Daryl Wein’s Lola Versus, she portrays the devastating aftermath of getting monumentally dumped. “My world is shattered and I’m eating.” Coming to terms with being single and nearly 30, Gerwig’s character Lola decides to embark on a series of adventures she hopes will help soothe that aching heart of hers.

Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007)

In her peak mumblecore role for the peak mumblecore director Joe Swanberg’s 2007 dramedy, Gerwig plays the neurotic, sweet, and mildly sarcastic Hannah. The movies sitting in this category are less known for their story and more for the low-fi production, improvised dialogue & plots, and fleeting conversations about huge epiphanies. Hence why this bathtub scene is the perfect example of both the mumblecore scene and Gerwig’s position in it.

Baghead (2008)

In a film from mumblecore director brothers Mark & Jay Duplass, Gerwig stars as the kooky bombshell Michelle. Injecting new life into the horror genre, Baghead is a spin on the cabin-in-the-woods format, as four writers head into the woods to try and bang out a screenplay, only to discover their sinister plot starts to come true. The best moment has to be this cringe yet endearing scene in which a drunk Chad (Steve Zissis) hits on a drunk Michelle. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

Damsels in Distress (2011)

This wonderfully surreal and stunningly unique offering from Whit Stillman (Metropolitan) follows a trio of girls – led by Gerwig’s character Violet – as they set out to change the male-dominated environment of their college campus while rescuing their fellow students from suicide and depression via the art of tap dancing. If your mind isn’t blown by the end of this movie, it certainly will be once you watch the final dance scene.

Greenberg (2010)

Gerwig performs alongside Ben Stiller (Zoolander) in Noah Baumbach’s dramedy that perfectly encapsulates the development of a romance between two flawed characters. Gerwig sets the dramatic tone while also bringing high levels of her usual LOL kookiness to the mix. We’re pretty sure Gerwig dancing to “Uncle Albert” around her room drinking champagne during a personal crisis is all of us at some point in our lives.

Mistress America (2015)

Baumbach & Gerwig teamed up to write the screenplay for this hectic comedy in which Gerwig’s character is a woman overflowing with charismatic energy so overpowering, it shadows her egocentric edge. It’s hard not to fall for her zest for life and the same can be said for her newly-adopted infatuated sidekick – student Tracy (Lola Kirke). This film is a stunning example of Baumbach & Gerwig’s uncanny ability to make audiences laugh out loud with glee and cry from the feels all at the same time.

Frances, Ha! (2012)

In number one spot has to be this monochrome triumph (also from the co-writing talents of Gerwig & Baumbach) about a 27-year-old New Yorker who is far from having her shit together. Despite her many flaws, Frances (Gerwig) somehow navigates through the tricky world of dancing and while she makes many mistakes along the way – including a savage BFF breakup and a pointlessly expensive trip to France – she works her way to the top, leading to a heartwarming ending that will make you sob with joy.

Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee.

Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee.

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Let’s celebrate the recent release of 'That Summer' by looking back at all the times 'Grey Gardens' was everything.

All the reasons ‘Grey Gardens’ is everything

By News

Throw a scarf around your head and start putting together your best costume for the day ahead, because we’re heading back to Grey Gardens. Albert & David Maysles’ beloved 1975 tragicomic documentary focused on the eccentric lives of mother and daughter Little & Big Edie Beale. It was also partly inspired by a 1972 project initiated by artist Peter Beard and Lee Radziwill (sister of Jackie Kennedy and cousin of the Beales). And now fans can finally enjoy the precursor to Grey Gardens in the documentary That Summer, which released back in May.

Transformed into a feature documentary by Swedish filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson (who previously worked his magic on archive footage for The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 in 2011), the documentary offers rare insights into the Beale family dynamic with the mother and daughter reflecting on their history. The footage also features Beard and his collective of various artists and socialites including Andy Warhol (Blue Movie) who also worked on the footage.

While we’re here, let’s celebrate the recent release of That Summer by looking back at all the times Grey Gardens was everything.

The best costume for the day

One of the biggest delights of Grey Gardens is witnessing the “costume” choices Little Edie makes every day. Her unbridled, almost childish delight and enthusiasm in showing her creations off is almost as joyful as the looks themselves. In this particular scene, Little Edie goes into meticulous detail about how she’s fashioned her skirt and why you must always wear shorts or pantyhose with such a look. The other benefits of her ensemble? “You can always wear the skirt as a cape.” Ingenious.

Little Edie wants to sing but Big Edie doesn’t want to hear it

The scrappy bickering between mother and daughter in Grey Gardens is one of the most hilarious and horrifying centerpieces of the movie. By far the greatest bout between the two is when Little Edie insists on singing (as she does throughout the film) much to Big Edie’s disgust and chagrin. At one point Big Edie brings a radio into the room to try and drown out the noise of her daughter. Amid the cacophony of the fight, there’s a disastrous attempt at breakfast and one instance of Big Edie exposing herself when her bathing suit falls off. It’s pure chaos.

Little Edie refuses to quit

In another spat between Big & Little Edie concerning the daughter’s singing, Big Edie snipes, “You’re singing incorrectly! Very ugly.” Deflated, Little Edie sits down on the bed and for a moment she looks to be defeated. Just seconds later she’s crooning again.

Using a magnifying glass to inspect the zodiac

While reading a book about astrology with a magnifying glass, Little Edie announces one of her biggest tragedies is not being able to marry the man she loves due to astrological incompatibility. “I’m Scorpio, he’s Sagittarius,” she muses before diving into a caustic rant about how “no-one takes into account how sensitive a person can be” and how ludicrous the accusations that she’s schizophrenic are. “No Beale was ever schizophrenic!”

Little Edie is definitely not having a nervous breakdown

Emerging from the house wearing one of her many outstanding creations, Little Edie starts singing Rudy Vallee’s “You Oughta be in Pictures” with a girlish sparkle in her eyes. Like many of the best moments from Grey Gardens, the scene starts off sweet and full of mirth before taking a sharp detour as Little Edie starts talking about a conversation she had with her brother’s friend who “scares” her. “She said I was having a nervous breakdown, I should go to Atlantic city. I’m not that broken down yet!” Edie smiles. Then she continues singing. It’s more than a little uncomfortable to watch but also oddly victorious.

The best worst dance performance

Is Little Edie’s flag dance the most underwhelming attempt at American patriotism put on film? Absolutely. Is it also the most phenomenal? Damn right it is.

Dealing with a staunch woman

Entering the gardens looking like she’s “dressed for battle” as the filmmaker suggests, Little Edie delivers one of the greatest speeches in the history of familial disputes. “In dealing with me, the relatives didn’t know that they were dealing with a staunch character and I tell you if there’s anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman . . . S-T-A-U-N-C-H. There’s nothing worse, I’m telling you. They don’t weaken, no matter what.”

Big Edie takes no prisoners

Lying in bed, Big Edie delivers a double-hitter of disparagement when she casually comments to Little Edie, “Your face is so ugly! You have such an ugly face.” When her daughter leaves the room, Big Edie barely misses a beat before she’s chastising someone else in the room for sneezing. “Do you want a handkerchief?! It’s too late now! All the germs are round the room.” She’s so monstrous but so enthralling.

All the times Princess Leia was a total boss in ‘Star Wars’

By News

It’s been a couple of months now since Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters, so no doubt Disney is already making big plans to continue milking that cash cow by bringing out yet another rushed edition from the intergalactic mega-franchise.

Let it be known that we’re not adverse to a bit of bonus space opera fun – but we miss the old days when the writers were not under strict time constraints and when the creative team members were given time to develop detailed stories, characters, and universes.

Looking back to better times, we wanted to celebrate the most badass warrior princess of any known galaxy – Leia Organa Solo (Carrie Fisher). As a princess, she’s the fiercest of them all; a true renegade who could handle her shit, fight her own battles, and refuse any and every rule book anyone tried to force upon her.

In celebration of this character’s ferocious badassery (and that of Fisher’s), here’s a ranking of the eight boldest times Leia was a total boss.

8. Leia devastates with a single word: Rogue One (2016)

She may be on screen for just a few seconds, but with one word she sums up the overall theme of the movie perfectly – “Hope”. With that we all burst into tears and will continue to do so, thanks.

7. Leia finally gives in to her feelings and kisses Han: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

We’re so here for game playing and feigning disinterest in an arrogant nerf-herder like Han just to keep him on his toes. But we’re also all about that moment when she finally lets herself live a little and allows for Han (Harrison Ford) to woo her and smooch her. That chemistry is as lit as a lightsaber in a bag of dynamite, honey!

6. Leia tunes in to Luke’s crisis call: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

With her fella potentially frozen for all time (and hell, possibly dead – what are the health and safety space laws concerning carbonite imprisonment?), you’d expect Leia to be on one taking out bad guys left, right, and center with her bare hands and Jedi trickery. But instead she’s cool and collected, her focus likely helping to guide her to a moment of pure heroics as she tunes in to Luke’s (Mark Hamill) desperate cries for help and swoops in with Lando to save the goddamn day.

5. General Leia doesn’t offer Han a grandiose reunion: The Force Awakens (2015)

Secretly, most of us were hankering for that satisfying moment when Han and Leia were finally drawn back into each other’s orbit during The Force Awakens. Except the passionate, tearful reunion we all craved wasn’t there. Instead, Leia was cool and aloof – a woman who had explored all the dimensions of a relationship and could now only offer gentle ribbing instead of kisses. Her knowing smile says it all – their love defies convention.

4. Leia takes charge: A New Hope (1977)

This lady has no time for Han’s swaggering ego or Chewie’s clunking form (“Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?!”) and though she starts out the movie as a damsel in distress, it’s clear she’s anything but. This princess is a fierce warrior who doesn’t need a wookie and a scavenger to protect her or lead the way. She’s the boss who blasts their route to freedom, proving she has no time for these space dilettantes and their amateur heroics.

3. Leia rescues Han: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Think of it like Sleeping Beauty; except here, Han is the princess who needs waking after some time in a state of sleep and Leia is the prince who must disguise herself as a bounty hunter to take on Boba Fett & Jabba to awaken her true love from his slumber (0r however that fairytale goes). The point is, Leia shows up and shows off in the most fearless and badass of ways in order to rescue her honey from Jabba’s icy, slimy grip.

2. Leia uses her chains to slaughter Jabba: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Don’t let that gold bikini distract you from what is possibly Leia’s most poignant, feminist, and legendary move in the history of the series. By using the chains that had kept her captive in Jabba’s lair to kill the monstrous sleazeball, she uses his abhorrent behavior against him. Using literally oppressive shackles as a means for liberation? Total boss move.

1. Leia still has the last word: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Han is about to be thrown into carbonite for Lord knows how long and Leia is obviously trippin’ over that fact (as anyone would be). Somehow she manages to maintain her cool throughout the whole ordeal, including the offer of a savvy one-liner in place of a romantic platitude. “I love you,” Han tells her in a way that suggests he’s probably never sincerely shared this level of intimacy with a woman before. “I know,” Leia responds, smirking before throwing on a pair of shades and sparking up a cigar (that was probably a deleted scene).

Mother of New Wave: Agnès Varda’s most influential films

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Back in May, legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda enjoyed her 90th birthday. And as she declared recently in an interview with The New Yorker, she’s still just as full as life as she ever was.

“I’m just a little deteriorating lady. But I’m not sad! I have trouble seeing. I don’t hear well. I’m not good with stairs. But people always tell me that I’m full of energy. I am! Energy has nothing to do with the body. It’s the mind, it’s the brain, it’s the joie de vivre.”

That energy is something that has been a vivid part of her work for the entirety of her career. Whether it’s a documentary, work of fiction, or a neo-realistic blend of the two, Varda’s wit, intelligence, and empathy bursts through each and every one of her films.

Often called the mother of the French New Wave, Varda is one of the most important and influential filmmakers in cinema history. To celebrate her life’s work, here’s our ranking of Varda’s eleven most seminal movies worth rewatching or enjoying for the first time.

11. Les Plages d’Agnès (2008)

Brimming with emotion Varda’s autobiographical documentary balances mirth with mourning as it delves into various aspects of the legendary filmmakers eventful life.  Evoking a swirl of emotional memories Varda revisits locales that have been important to her and presents them alongside archive footage and interviews offering an intimate and illuminating sojourn through the filmmaking process.

10. Sans Toit Ni Loi (1985)

Starring a young Sandrine Bonnaire in a César-winning performance, Sans Toit Ni Loi is one of Varda’s bleakest movies but remains one of her most celebrated having won the Golden Lion for the film at the 1985 Venice Film Festival. Examining the life and motivations of a homeless woman following her death, the movie explores a potentially futile search for absolute freedom.

9. Faces Places (2017)

One of Varda’s breeziest, upbeat, and captivating films centers around Varda as she forms an unlikely friendship with artist JR (Women Are Heroes) during a journey through rural France. The movie won the Oeil d’or at Cannes in 2017 and is a vivacious burst of emotion and laughter.

8. Le Bonheur (1965)

Arguably one of the most influential movies of its kind (and one that likely helped inspire American films like Fatal Attraction), this account of a happily married suburban man who suffers tragic consequences for falling in love with another woman could be seen as a “lyrical evocation of the joys of free love” or a “dark parable of patriarchal cruelty”.

7. Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000)

Profound and witty, Varda’s portrait documentary about the people who scavenge offers a warm and complex portrait of humanity. The “gleaners” featured include artists cobbling together found art pieces, people scavenging to survive, and those hoping to recreate a community spirit of the past. What really brings the movie to life, however, is Varda’s singular personality with her shining and often amusing narration adding unseen depths.

6. Le Petit Amour (1988)

There are many modern movies that have tried to evoke a similar sense of discomfort and suburban malaise as Le Petit Amour does but none have done so as elegantly as Varda’s film. Following a highly taboo relationship between a woman in her 40’s (Jane Birkin) who falls in love with a 15 year old (Mathieu Demy) friend of her daughter (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Varda examines the complex and often beguiling mechanics of love.

5. Jacquot de Nantes (1991)

Varda’s poignant tribute to her late husband, the revered filmmaker Jacques Demy (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), Jacquot de Nantes provides a fictional reconstruction of his childhood in 1940’s Naples. The film traverses the young life of Jacquot during three seminal periods as his discovers and pursues his passion for cinema. Varda punctuates fictional scenes with contemporary footage of her terminally ill husband who died a few days after the film wrapped making it a searingly beautiful epitaph to the man, his passions, and Varda’s deep affection for him.

4. Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962)

A landmark work of the Nouvelle Vague, Cléo de 5 à 7 follows a self-absorbed pop star (Corinne Marchand) after she receives an ominous tarot card reading while awaiting the results of a potential cancer biopsy. Set across two hours in almost real time, Cléo wanders around Paris before finding comfort and peace in her meeting with a soldier who puts her life and troubles into serious perspective.

3. La Pointe Courte (1955)

Varda’s striking debut film is packed full lush visual aesthetics and is a stylistic precursor to the French New Wave. Offering a penetrating study of an unhappy couple working through their fledgling relationship in a small fishing town, the film is graceful and intriguing. Particularly as it blends the performances of actors Philippe Noiret and Silvia Monfort with the lives of La Pointe Courte residents as they grapple with hardship and tragedies.

2. Daguerréotypes (1976)

The groundbreaking portrait of shopkeepers in Varda’s home neighborhood introduced the idea of tender and anthropology into filmmaking. The film sprawls across the many mysteries and nuances of human nature and provides an intimate look at everyday people.

1. L’une chante, l’autre pas (1977)

Featuring heartfelt performances from Valérie Mairesse and Thérèse Liotard as two close friends who lose tough only to renew their relationship over a decade later, L’une chante, l’autre pas is a touching portrait of a female friendship during a pivotal political time. Told across a fifteen year period punctuated by the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s the movie remains a feminist touchstone work as lyrical as it is important.

Watching Stanley Kubrick’s films through a feminist lens

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Did you know it was acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick’s birthday last month? The prolific filmmaker (who passed away in 1999) would have turned 90. To honor the occasion, the official Twitter page posted a tribute video made up exclusively of white male filmmakers fawning over the filmmaker’s genius (and their own).

Martin Scorsese stares straight into the camera as though he’s delivering a cult induction video and suggests Kubrick is something “you live by”. Christopher Nolan (a director known for “fridging” the female characters in many of his films) stated simply that Kubrick’s movies have a “very special place” in his heart.

Meanwhile, Simon Pegg simply reeled off even more white great male directors in his honoring of the late director, stating, “The likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola – those guys are the movie brats that shaped the contemporary movie industry but I think all of those guys would absolutely defer to Kubrick as being a huge influence.”

We’re obviously huge fans of the director’s work and there’s no doubt he helped to influence an insurmountable volume of independent and Hollywood movies – but he isn’t beyond reproach. Furthermore, tributes like this that only focus on the white male perspective of his oeuvre and influence do little to counter criticisms that Kubrick’s treatment of women during production and as characters in his films was (to put it politely) a little iffy.

It’s a criticism that was brought to mainstream attention when Stephen King (who has long and openly challenged Kubrick’s treatment of his novel The Shining) called Kubrick’s depiction of Wendy Torrance (Shelley DuVall) “one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film” in an interview with the BBC. The horror writer reasoned that the character is “basically just there to scream and be stupid and that’s not the woman that I wrote about.”

It’s a difficult criticism to argue against. For as multi-layered and truly ingenious as The Shining may be as a film, Wendy is a shrill prop of a woman – a thing to swing an axe at. The character is further worsened by Kubrick’s merciless treatment of DuVall while directing her on set.

In the behind the scenes documentary of The Shining filmed by Kubrick’s daughter Vivian, we witness the abuses DuVall endured at the hands of the director – all in the name of enhancing Wendy’s insecurities. Such intense pressure was heaped onto DuVall that she notoriously suffered hair loss from the stress of it all and was found crying between takes.

The culmination of which is most evident in the iconic scene in which Wendy swings a baseball bat at a deranged Jack. Her hysteria is palpable and it’s also very real – it broke the World Record of the most takes ever shot for a scene with spoken dialogue at 127 takes. In the documentary, Kubrick can even be heard urging other crew members “don’t sympathise with Shelley” even though she’s stood right next to him. It’s just locker room talk, right fellas? Such jokes. Much funny.

Following the film’s release, DuVall opened up to film critic Roger Ebert that she essentially “had to cry 12 hours a day, all day long . . . nine months straight, five or six days a week.” She also sadly lamented that for all her hard work and suffering, she wasn’t recognized for her efforts, with critics failing “even to mention it, it seemed like. The reviews were all about Kubrick like I wasn’t there.”

It’s a telling quote and it perfectly summarizes some of the criticisms of Kubrick’s work when viewed through a feminist lens. In Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut, and A Clockwork Orange, women tend to take two forms – they’re either young sexual objects or they’re elder shrews.

The lusty nymphets who strut, seduce, and are sexually and rapaciously consumed provide a framing of a woman’s power being solely beholden to her youth and beauty. The older women of these movies tend to be subsequently rendered weak and powerless and pushed into the outer frame of shots.

As Danielle R. Pearce wrote in her essay “Kubrick, Misogyny & The Human Condition”, in Lolita, “severe contrasts can be seen between mother and daughter. Kubrick clearly places Lolita in the center of frame when she is featured. This is different to her mother, whom is consistently framed off center – in the periphery. Humbert is fixated on Lolita, however Charlotte is simply an annoyance to him.”

There’s obviously an argument to be made (especially considering the satirical nature of Lolita) that Kubrick is simply reflecting societal attitudes towards women. Particularly in regards to how young and beautiful women are given prominence across all corners of society while women beyond a particular age (even a goddess like Nicole Kidman) are pushed to the outer fringes.

The problem with that reading (no matter how true it may be in regards to his intentions) is that he never made a film that truly challenged the idea of women being anything more than victims, objects, or shrews. In Killer’s Kiss, the heroine is relegated to the subordinate role of a frightened dancer striving to escape her dangerous boss, while in Barry Lyndon the movie explores ideas surrounding toxic masculinity, but still depicts a cheery scoundrel of a protagonist who marries a woman for her money and has his merry way with their merry maids.

In Kubrick’s further masterpieces Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Paths of Glory, and Full Metal Jacket, women are mostly absent from the narrative. Which, in all honesty, is fine – we’re happy to enjoy a film mostly free of a female presence than one where a woman has been awkwardly shoved in for the token representation. The point is that Kubrick’s vision was such an obstinately male one that it left absolutely no space for a single complex female character or perspective.

And you know what? That’s fine. Grab a spoon and eat your fill of it if that’s what you think is the marker of masterful filmmaking. However, it leaves a distasteful residue upon the history of Hollywood that Kubrick is still renowned as being one of the most influential directors of all time. Especially when a modern perspective on his legacy still only offers a male white championing on the impact he continues to have on modern filmmaking.

In celebration of the leading ladies of 'Terminator 6', here are the fiercest female characters from the previous movies in the franchise.

The women warriors of the ‘Terminator’ films

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When the Terminator said he’d be back, we didn’t think he meant it quite so literally. The sixth Terminator film is currently in production and set for release on November 22 2019, 35 years after the first film hit theaters and changed the face of sci-fi forever. We can only hope Terminator 6 will ignore all of the sequels past Terminator 2: Judgment Day and will offer a fresh spin on this wrung out franchise.

Although the opposite often rings true, with Tim Miller (Deadpool) directing, James Cameron (Avatar) producing, and (best of all) a story that will see the triumphant return of our fave Terminator character Sarah Connor, it is looking hopeful. But better yet, Linda Hamilton (Dante’s Peak) is back on set, reprising her role as SC.

In line with the rise in the female-led action movies in recent years, the new Terminator instalment will introduce a bunch of new characters including Dani Ramos – a young Mexican woman played by Colombian actress Natalia Reyes who’s being hunted by a new Terminator (played by Gabriel Luna). Oh yeah, and Mackenzie Davis is set to star too!

In celebration of the leading ladies of Terminator 6, here are the fiercest female characters from the previous movies in the franchise.

Ginger Ventura – The Terminator (1984)

A contrast to the relentlessly badass Sarah Connor in the first Terminator movie, we had her roommate and BFF who, while not quite of the woman warrior status of her buddy, was still powerful in her own right.

Did she ever stop listening to that Walkman? No, no she did not – it might have led to her demise, but at least Ginger (Bess Motta) was jamming out right up to the end.

Sarah Connor – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The OG Sarah Connor played by Hamilton is one of the most kickass film-based females in movie history. As she becomes a warrior on a mission, she must protect her son John from an even more powerful cyborg while also preventing Judgement Day from ever happening. Yikes! While we might be experiencing franchise fatigue, we can’t wait to see the actor return to her role in Terminator 6.

T-X – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Jonathan Mostow’s threequel really did mark the rapid descent of the Terminator franchise. By this point Sarah is dead, signalling Hamilton’s departure and leaving Nick Stahl’s John Connor and Claire Danes as his confused wife to deal with the human elements of the Rise of the Machines.

On the plus side, it was the first time we got to see a female terminatrix, so that’s something. Named T-X and played by Kristanna Loken, she had all the deadly elements of Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s cyborg but with none of the questionable bulges. Oh no wait, scrap that . . .

Blair Williams – Terminator Salvation (2009)

Set in the year we’re currently in, the fourth in the franchise centered on John Connor, this time with none other than Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) as the central character.

But we’re all about Blair Williams played by Moon Bloodgood (Faster), pilot of the Resistance under John’s command and friend of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington). Sexy, smart, and a dab hand with weaponry, Blair is one of the fiercest females of the entire franchise.  

Detective Cheung – Terminator Genisys (2015)

We were kinda disappointed at the lack of female characters in the fifth Terminator film, But then again, we were kinda disappointed with the movie, period.

Aside from Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) as a totally weak version of Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, there’s only really one other woman to speak of and that is Detective Cheung (played by Sandrine Holt). That’s not to say we’re not totally for her character, who actually turned out to be the T-3000 in disguise. Who knew!?