Women Make Film Episode 2: Believability, Character and Meet Cute
It’s easy to spot, but not so easy to understand. Believability is about simple human stories, life truths, real emotions and responding to the world. How do directors create a reality without it feeling fake? True stories can help. But what’s the trick? Here are some answers, drawing from Lois Weber’s The Blot (1921) and Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann (2016).
Going to a house, overhearing people, witnessing bizarre action – there are many ways to meet people and be introduced to characters in films. In Shirley Clarke’s The Connection (1961), she has a documentary crew introduce the characters to us; Andrea Arnold puts her characters front and centre in Fish Tank (2009); and in The Story of the Flaming Years (1961), directed by Yuliya Solntseva, the main character is presented like a statue on a building.
The classic Hollywood ‘meet cute’ invites a variety of interpretations, from intimate glimpses to worlds colliding spectacularly. Unique examples include the feverish, pivotal introduction in Germaine Dulac’s experimental The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928), Céline Sciamma playing two girl gangs against each other in Girlhood (2014), and the cynical FBI old guard meeting the idealistic newcomer in Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break (1991). Then, a masterfully choreographed, layered meet cute in Mania Akbari’s One.Two.One (2011) is captured in a single wide shot composed like a Renaissance altarpiece.
See more episodes in our Women Make Film series.
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