A thorough but pedestrian look at women's evolving roles in film and television. To put together this book, script...


WHEN WOMEN CALL THE SHOTS: The Developing Power and Influence of Women in Television and Film

A thorough but pedestrian look at women's evolving roles in film and television. To put together this book, script consultant Seger interviewed nearly 200 prominent women in film around the world--from studio execs like Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing to directors Gillian Armstrong and Agnes Varda to a slew of writers, producers, directors of photography, and editors. This range and breadth of talents is impressive, even definitive, and Seger is to be congratulated for spotlighting a number of unsung achievements by women in film. Unfortunately, she relies too much on her sources, favoring their quotes over her own writing (a large proportion of the book is quotations). But Seger is relentlessly trying to hammer home a larger point. She argues that women perceive the world very differently from men. When it comes to the movies, Seger believes women prefer less linearity and less narrative, with a greater emphasis on character and relationships. Women want to see more women heroes, more recognition of their dreams and fantasies, and, apparently, more apt depictions of their sexuality. As filmmaker Julie Dash puts it, perfectly encapsulating the middle-class realist aesthetic Seger espouses, ""Everybody needs to see their lives affirmed on the big screen."" Seger believes, no surprise, that the best way to affirm and celebrate this ""other"" perspective is by hiring more women in all areas of the film industry. Of course, some postmodern feminists would accuse Seger of essentialism, ratifying as immutable differences that are really culturally determined. And why limit women to the ghetto of women's stories? After all, is the role of art merely to reflect one's own reality? More debate and diversity of opinion would have been welcome instead of Seger's seamless united front.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996


Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996

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