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Penny's Picks: 50 Movies by Women Filmmakers Paperback – December 17, 2011
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About the Author
Jan Lisa Huttner is an award-winning author/activist who writes regular columns as well as freelance articles for multiple print and internet outlets. After 35 years in Chicago, Jan now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In 2004, she was asked to coordinate a new AAUW-Illinois project called WITASWAN (“wit-uh-swan”): Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now! In 2008, these activities lead to the creation of International SWAN Day, now celebrated annually on the last Saturday of every March all around the world. Jan received her B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (the “Great Books” school), and Masters Degrees in Psychology from Harvard University and the University of Chicago. In addition to her commitment to AAUW (American Association of University Women), professional memberships include NFPW (National Federation of Press Women), NYFCO (New York Film Critics Online), NYWIFT (New York Women in Film & TV), and WFCC (Women Film Critics Circle).
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Women artists and performers are well-known in many of the arts--music, art, film, theatre, literature--so it is a bit of a puzzle why women who write and direct movies have had such a hard time breaking through in Hollywood. Women make up a significant portion (half? more than half?) of moviegoers. This book does not focus specifically on the reasons why women are not fully represented in this art, but the book performs an exceedingly important function by identifying movies that have been created by women screenwriters and directors. The movies reviewed here include the well-known and highly praised--SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and THE HURT LOCKER and WINTER'S BONE, for instance--as well as less well-known gems, such as FROZEN RIVER or LOOK BOTH WAYS.
I must admit that I did know many of the films mentioned in the book--and some, like THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG (one of my favorite documentaries), I had seen without realizing who had written or directed the film. That is another of the pleasures of this book: you will be introduced to an array of superb movies that you have not seen but will want to see.
Jan Lisa Huttner has been a film critic and supporter of women in the arts for many years. Her reviews are crisp, well-written, entertaining, personal, and perceptive. Each piece is worth reading, even if the film is not one that particularly suits your taste.
I can't say enough about how much I've enjoyed this book, or how much I appreciate that such a book now exists. It is terrific.
So buy the book, grab a bag of buttered popcorn, sit back, and indulge--first in the reading of this book, and then in the viewing of these excellent films created by the extraordinarily talented women filmmakers who are responsible for them.
Two thumbs up--and bravo.
Jan's reviews show us the women who are in the forefront of the movie industry. Jan does an excellent job of analyzing the movies and their filmmaker showing her viewpoint on the story line, actors/actresses, and directors. She gives her insight on each of the movies in her reviews and it definitely makes you think. She brings up information about the movie so that you want to go back and see it all over again.
I highly recommend this book as an excellent source for reviews of movies by women filmmakers.
Huttner has chosen an interesting array of movies. All of which I plan on seeing. Even if I've viewed them before reading the reviews often make me want to rewatch them or look at them in a different light. (Don't worry, there are spoiler alerts written in.)