It’s an assumption of actresses, the screen sirens and Hollywood beauties — with images carefully crafted, meant to withstand all public scrutiny. The notion of women within films has been shaped to simple expressions. Most believe an entire gender to be limited to playing roles in front of the camera, never stepping behind it, never defining the intentions of cinema.
This is neither true nor reasonable.
Instead the movie industry has forever been influenced by women — from Alice Guy-BlachÃ© and her accomplishment of the first narrative (La FÃ©e aux Choux) in 1896 to the modern triumphs of Kathryn Bigelow (the first woman to win an Academy Award for direction). And understanding films demands a more precise explanation of this.
Simply defined, womenâ€™s cinema is the efforts of all female directors, screen writers and cinematographers. It’s not a reflection of acting, as so many deem it to be. Instead it details the power wielded by women on the set of a movie. These individuals are the driving forces of projects, crafting them as needed.
Women’s cinema is not, however, meant to include the efforts of costume designers, make-up artists or similar careers. While these roles are vital to the completion of any film, they’re not considered the defining factors of them. The purpose of this genre instead is to seek out those who are responsible for the entire process, rather than just a specified part of it.
And all must be aware of this term — if only to finally abandon the notion that all women are meant to act and nothing more. Too long has this philosophy remained, with all efforts of female directors and writers dismissed (simply because they weren’t even thought to exist). While none could deny that the cinema remains a male dominated field, none should also deny that women have contributed much to it.
There’s more to discover in films than simple acting. There’s instead true creativity, determination and power.