Thursday, 13 September 2007

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Director: Martin Scorsese
Country: USA

I won't really say a lot about this one since it's an oldie. Basically, it was the first movie to feature a leading woman in a positive role. Ellen Burstyn plays the titular character, Alice (a performance that won her the Oscar for best actress), as she goes through the motions of losing her husband, pursuing her dream as a singer to support her son, and going through abusive relationships.

What I loved about this movie was how real the characters were for a film of that era, and how they interacted with each other. Particularly entertaining was the rapport between Alice and her son, Tommy (Alfred Lutter). I was actually surprised at how humorous much of the movie was despite the serious subject matter. It should also be noted that a pre-teen Jodie Foster has a small bit as Audrey, a girl that Tommy befriends, and does a damn good job of portraying her character.

You should watch this movie, if not only as a study of how the role of the leading lady in cinema was changed so dramatically way back in the mid-70s.

Q&A: This Q&A session was a bit different in that it began with somebody (I feel bad for not remembering her name - she was an accomplished Canadian filmmaker and author I think) asking Ellen Burstyn a few questions in the form of a one-on-one interview before it went to questions from the audience. The reason this was done is because the film was part of a retrospective series called Dialogues, in which people involved in classic films come to discuss said films. It was really interesting to hear from her perspective how she actively sought out a role that didn't have the female character as "the victim, the wife or the prostitute", how she played an active part in its production, and how the movie opened the floodgates for similar roles for women.

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