Filmmakers Work to Reframe the ‘Male Gaze’

In the opening shot of Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” (2003), Scarlett Johansson is lying on a bed, back to the camera, shown in partial view, wearing underpants. In Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) a banged-up Ryan Gosling stares up at a bone-thin, enormous nude projection of a woman. More recently, Jay Roach’s “Bombshell” (2019) featured Margot Robbie lifting her dress for John Lithgow as the camera takes in her legs. All typical images from Hollywood films, all doing their job: telling story, building character and providing context. These are images that have been used in cinema almost since its beginnings more than 100 years ago. But what if many shots framed and filmed by directors and cinematographers — men, women, nonbinary — actually do something else, too — like undercut every other progressive stride women make on the camera, and in real life? “It’s about asking filmmakers what they’re trying to achieve,” says Madeline Di Nonno, CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “What are they trying to say? Is there a way to depict their vision without objectifying the female character?” Read More…

IF SHE CAN SEE IT, SHE CAN BE IT