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Entertainment & Arts

Letters to Calendar: Let’s talk female directors

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Writer-director-producer Nancy Meyers on the set of “The Intern.”
(Francois Duhamel / Warner Bros.)

A woman’s touch in film

While I salute every effort to widen the diversity of professionals making movies, I must object — as a man — to the article by Rebecca Keegan [“Female Directors Still Have It Rough,” Nov. 4]. To suggest that a male director would probably not have shown Martin Luther King bagging the garbage in “Selma” as Ava DuVernay did is plain ridiculous and, yes, sexist.

Keegan also suggests that a stagnation in studios hiring female directors resulted in a drop in the number of human moments portrayed onscreen. This is disingenuous at best when touching and deeply human moments have been in films made by men since the medium was invented.

Also, to compare the work of David Fincher and James Cameron — directors who have pushed the envelope in terms of visual, kinetic cinema — to the work of Nancy Meyers (a writer-director whose work I greatly admire) is spurious at best.

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Sam Glynn

Los Angeles

I know you keep focusing on female directors, but the industry is made up of many more positions. I started in the camera department in the 1980s. I was the only female on the camera crew then, and you will find few women in camera on set today in 2015. This is what should be shocking to everyone.

I carried the heavy equipment, loaded the trucks and stayed up all night. I put up with men and their sexist remarks. But I made it to the A-list films by hard work. But few do. I was not related to anyone and did not sleep with anyone either. However, I was asked both questions. Why? Just because I was female.

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Mollie Mallinger

Helfand

Agoura

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One thing that is frustrating with patriarchy is the premium we put on white males and white privilege in our society. Hollywood portrays the myth that romancing and landing a white man (especially if you’re Asian or Latina) is the cure for all of your problems. Women in L.A. only exclusively date white men because of the powerful negative stereotypes that Hollywood puts out.

Maybe you could broaden your white perspective and realize the issue is bigger than women and has to do with the problem of white men being put on a pedestal and white privilege?

Mark A. Johnson

Culver City

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I have read with interest the various recent articles about female directors in Hollywood, partly because I had the good fortune last year to be in a movie directed by a fine one (Niki Caro, “McFarland, USA”). I’m always disappointed to find the omission of Caro from the list of top directors mentioned in these pieces. She directed the art-house hit “Whale Rider,” the mainstream success “North Country” and was instrumental in turning a potentially formulaic Disney sports movie, “McFarland, USA,” into something a great deal more substantial. Oh, and along the way, three actors in Niki Caro’s films (Keisha Castle-Hughes, Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand) received Oscar nominations. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Josh Clark

San Gabriel

Critical look at Smithsonian

Of course Christopher Knight is right about this being a dumb mistake [“Museum loses in Its Cosy Relationship with Cosby,” Nov. 8], but let’s put this in context. The Smithsonian, while it is a wonderful institution, has a long history of really bad art curation. Some of the worst shows I’ve ever seen have been Smithsonian flops. Its American impressionism show was filled with third-rate paintings from first-rate artists — clearly an attempt to pull works from the bowels of Smithsonian storage.

A bigger surprise would be the Smithsonian doing any good curating. Really, this is a national disgrace and should be looked into.

Michael Kape

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Palm Springs

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“Why a museum public is supposed to take an interest in a private collector’s shopping list is anybody’s guess.”

Kind of reminds of a new local museum. Now which could that be?

David Williams

Encinitas

Some unfunny gobbledygook

The article “The H.R. Files” [Nov. 8] that took a lot of space in the Arts & Books section was an unfunny bunch of made-up gobbledygook about Adele, Taylor Swift and Kanye West. Why this merited inclusion in a section normally devoted to serious information and intelligent reviews is beyond my comprehension.

At least you did not have this writer review Bob Dylan’s “Bootleg Series Vol. 12" — the piece that did get printed was excellent.

Nancy Cobb

Palm Springs


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