The action thriller flick Salt starring Angelina Jolie opens today and I plan to be there for the earliest showing possible (to avoid the crowds and I have tons of grant writing to do this weekend!) in order to vote with my dollars for the kind of movie, which while not perfect, is light years ahead of much of the other big budget releases featuring women this summer.
When questioned as to why my film criticism tends emphasize mainstream offerings, my response is usually, "Because that's where the people are." I actively consume and thoroughly appreciate obscure, art house fare where dialogue is delivered in urgent whispers; lives are complicated by eccentric passions and heartbreaking twists of fate. That said, I'm also a very pragmatic pop culture consumer, rejecting the notion that critically conscious content should be relegated to low budget art films screened far away from the masses. On my recent post about Inception a commenter named Elise said:
Well, I guess if we are frustrated with one-dimensional female characters written by men, who don't even attempt to write convincing female characters because hey, how could they possibly understand the intricate nature of what it is to be a woman, we should make a concerted effort to go out and support and buy tickets to films written and directed by women!
It's a sentiment I thoroughly support and have expressed myself, but it doesn't always acknowledge some of the realities of how and why films get made. If it was merely a matter of box office receipts Stallone would not have a film scheduled for released in less than two weeks, given he has not been a bankable box office draw with any consistency since the mid 90s. So it's not merely a matter of supporting content made by marginalized groups, there also needs to be effort to challenge the -ism fail in wildly popular films too. Moreover, some of the films suggested as alternatives to big budget fare simply don't appeal to me or the films reinforce the kyriarchy in a manner similar to mainstream Hollywood releases. And honestly, sometimes I watch films to take a break from the realities of being marginalized in society, so sometimes watching filmed versions of it are the last thing I want to do.
So, if you don't mind, I'm going to go check out Salt and give a full report in my next post!