Reading Masculine/Feminine in film

Image by Dave Ampola

Image by Dave Ampola

I have been going through magazines that have piled up over the semester since I have been attending an MFA program at CCNY and just read the November 22nd Hollywood Reporter Directors Roundtable for 2013. The question of what distinguishes a good director from a great director was asked and Steve McQueen (director of 12 Years a Slave) gave my favorite response:

 The other day I was watching [John Ford’s] The Searchers, and there is that bit where John Wayne has this thing with his brother’s wife – within this [male-oriented] story of his adventure to get his niece back. To have that worldview but at the same time have the glimpses of intimacy? That’s just a great director. ‘Cause he’s not afraid of his feminine side as much as his masculine side.

I admit this especially struck a chord with me because at the end of this semester I had a professor tell me without equivocation that directing is a “masculine role” – not taking a moment to acknowledge the complexities of the job but merely as a way of dismissing an aesthetic perspective with which he did not agree.

Without regard to gender many jobs require both stereotypically “masculine” and “feminine” skills – great to come across a quote that encapsulates that! Another aspect of the quote that rings true is the insinuation that in order to be a great director one should have the capacity to understand multiple points of view (beyond masculine/feminine). I couldn’t agree more.

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