3.01 — POINT BREAK (1991) and The Female Gaze

We kick off Season 3 with a fresh approach: we’re going director-by-director, for four weeks at a time. The subject of our first four weeks — the director of our first four films — is the fêted director of ZERO DARK THIRTY, subject of an early PP episode, and the forthcoming DETROIT: Kathryn Bigelow.

We’re starting at the other end of Bigelow’s career, though, with her 1991 breakthrough POINT BREAK. A surprisingly progressive film, given its era, we talk about the particularly ‘female’ way it’s shot, the breathless editing style, and how the characters may be archetypes that reach beyond the movie itself.

This Week’s Media
DESPICABLE ME 3 (2017): Pierre Coffin, Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig
MULAN II (2004): Darrell Rooney, Mark Moseley, Ming-Na Wen
GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017): Rupert Sanders, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Carmen Pitt
SCRUBS (2001–10): Bill Lawrence, Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke
TOMBSTONE (1993): George P. Cosmatos, Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer
TANK GIRL (1995): Rachel Talalay, Lori Petty, Ice-T
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001): Rob Cohen, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel
On the subject of Kathryn Bigelow, here’s our ZDT episode, from Season 1: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/zero-dark-thirty-the-other/id990653468?i=1000382263499&mt=2. To make up for the fact that Sam got the lead actor confused, here’s a link to this summer’s ATOMIC BLONDE: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2406566. (Though, on a side note, if they were going for 80s pop chic, why does the trailer use a Eurythmics song rather than the open goal of Blondie’s ‘Atomic’??). Here’s a whole book on the ‘hard body’ action films of the 80s: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Bodies-Hollywood-Masculinity-Reagan/dp/0813520037. These are various editing tips, some of which — as explained this week — chime with KB’s work: https://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/12-tips-for-better-film-editing. For more on gender studies and ‘the female gaze’, the work of Anneke Smelik (as advocated on previous PPs) is a good place to start: http://www.annekesmelik.nl. Finally, this is a good primer on the historical (but quasi-folkloric) figure of Johnny Appleseed: http://mentalfloss.com/article/62113/9-facts-tell-true-story-johnny-appleseed.