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This week's feature

The wonder-women of cinema

Diana Prince was always destined for greatness; it was all in her name. The one that most people know as Wonder Woman is making a come back on the big screen June 7th, 2017. She’s one of the few female super-heroes from the comics world, which – just like the movie world – is dominated by men. Even when the lead is female, men get more lines than women.

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American cinema doesn't have enough women

The infographic - May 24, 2017

In Hollywood, all females could be labeled wonder women considering how hard it is for them to get roles. From directing to casting, screenwriting to Oscar nominations, here’s a quick look at what the film industry really looks like for women…

Impression

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The most badass (and iconic) wonder women of cinema

Gimme 5 - May 24, 2017

There might be less of them than their male counterparts; still they remain just as iconic, if not more for some. Join us as we tell you about our favorite female heroes.

1. Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, in Alien (1986): Does it get any more badass than this one? Some tried to go head to head with her, like the Alien itself, but it didn’t end well for any of them. The lone warrior is one of the most renowned American cinema heroes, all types combined.

nikita-sigourney-weaver-wonderwomen-badass-femme

Ellen Ripley © Twentieth Century Fox

2. Nikita, played by Anne Parillaud, in Nikita (1986): In movie by Luc Besson, Nikita becomes Joséphine once she’s been hired by French secret services who “offer” her a second chance at life after she had been sentenced to life in jail for murder. She is a ruthless hitwoman but falling in love will make her torn between two worlds… She’s soft but also poisonous, she’s a legend.

3. Shu Lien, played by Michelle Yeoh, in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000): the master of the Sword of Destiny and a Li Mu Bai martial arts expert, rare are those who can compete with this fighter. With her agility and her unparalleled poise, she is THE Asian badass wonder woman of cinema.

4. Black Mamba, played by Uma Thurman, in Kill Bill (2003): no introduction needed for Quentin Tarantino’s fiery Bride. Dressed in her legendary sweatsuit and using her sword like no other in both Kill Bill movies, Black Mamba has only got one thing on her mind: revenge!

black-mamba-uma-thurman-kill-bill-wonderwomen

Black Mamba © Photo by Andrew Cooper

5. Margaret Fitzgerald, played by Hilary Swank, in Million Dollar Baby (2004) : the life of a wonder woman isn’t a walk in the park and tragedy might lie ahead for her. Take « Maggie » for example: brillant boxer with a mean hook and a very intense fighting spirit!

clint-eastwood-wonderwomen

Margaret Fitzgerald © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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William Moulton Marston, the man behind the Wonder Woman

Who's who - May 24, 2017

Talk about multitasking: William Moulton Marston is an inventor, psychologist, writer, comics scenarist, committed feminist among other things. He isn’t your average inventor though. He’s responsible for the blood pressure test that was the genesis for the lie detector test in 1922.

Fired from many colleges because of his work and pro-women initiatives (for example he had tried to prove that women are more honest, trustworthy and better workers than men), he was hired in 1930 as an editorial adviser for Max Gaines… only the guy who is considered the inventor of the comic book.

In 1941, Martson showed his latest invention to an All-American Publications editor, a female super hero who is “the alternative to all the male-dominated violence”: Wonder Woman! Initially christened “Suprema the Wonder Woman”, Marston took inspiration from the feminist movement of the time, from which his wife was part of. As a tribute to his first invention, Marston gave Wonder Woman a magic lasso that forces her enemies to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

wonderwomen-createur

Charles Moulton trying to get his secretary to tell the truth © Smithsonian Librairies

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Age is only a number for wonder women

Shine at parties! - May 24, 2017

In 2012, one of the most touching films of the last few year came out : Beasts Of The Southern Wild, adapted from the play Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar et directed by Benh Zeitlin. It tells the story of Hushpuppy Doucet, a 6 year-old girl from the Louisiana bayou and her dad. The spirited, optimistic and independent little girl goes on a hunt for her missing mother and fights in her very own way the toxic consequences of climate change on her shack.

Presented at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, it won the Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic). The subsequent year, it was nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Actress for 9 year-old Quvenzhané Wallis (6 y.o. when the movie was shot). She became the youngest nominee in history for that category. Competing against her the same year was Emmanuelle Riva, 85, for her role in Amour ; she is the oldest actor to be nominated for an Oscar

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Wonder women who break the mold

A picture says it all - May 24, 2017

A wonder woman doesn’t need to have super powers, she does her best to push the limits and break the rules. That’s exactly what the three lead characters of The Day I Became A Woman by Iranian director Marzieh Meshkini do in the movie. Divided in three distinctive parts, each one of them tells the story of a woman at a different part of her life.

The first one, Hava, is almost 9 and must leave her childhood behind when her mother gives her her very first black chador. The second one, Ahoo, is determined to take part in a female biking competition even with her husband and the wise men of her town following her on top of horses and asking her to stop. Hoora, the third one is a older lady who after inheriting a lot of money goes to a shopping mall and buys everything she could never get before.

A true ode to Iranian women, the director paints a haunting and impactful picture and doesn’t omit the hardships and frustrations they endure. Released on International Women’s Right Day, The Day I Became A Woman is the story of three women fighting for freedom.

the-day-i-becaome-a-woman-femme-wonderwoman

Hava, Ahoo and Hoora © Hana Makhmalbaf

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Margaret Dean, co-president of Women in Animation and General Manager for Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

The 3 questions - May 24, 2017

At the head of the biggest stop motion studio in Southern California, Margaret Dean is also an ardent defender of women in the animation sector. She tells us about their situation and role in the production and creation of animated films, their image and their representation on the screen, but also the actions of Women In Animation in their favor.

Orange Pop : How was your organization, Women In Animation, born and why ? What are its actions and objectives ?

Margaret Dean : Women in Animation (WIA) was founded over 20 years ago as a way to bring together a handful of women who had ventured into the industry. The purpose of the organization was to give support to women who often found themselves alone in meetings, on teams and in studios. Two years ago WIA announced a call to action : 50-50 by 2025. We want 50% of creative roles across the Animation industry to be filled by women. All of our programs are focused on this goal. In the last two years, women have gone from 20.63% to 23.22% of the creative staff in Los Angeles (The Animation Guild 839). The increase is good but still not enough to hit our 50-50 mark in 8 years.

In addition to offering programs that develop female talent, such as mentoring, skill building workshops and screenings, we have an advocacy strategy which drives us to approach the issue from both sides : working with the industry and all the major studios to open the doors wider, and with women to be more confident and push their ambitions.

O.P. : How has the image and representation of women in animated films evolved from the first great Disney classics to recent productions, more progressive or just more faithful to reality ? Can we say that the Japanese animation was a pioneer in this matter (the Studio Ghibli in particular) ?

M.D. : There have been great strides in the representation of women and girls in Animation. Looking at Snow White and Sleeping Beauty next to Judy Hopps (Zootopia), it’s plain to see. But hearing the Geena Davis Institute‘s researchs, the overall number of female characters still does not reflect the reality of the gender breakdown of the population. And as she has said many times, if an audience sees a world on the screen that is predominantly male, then the message understood is that women don’t count.

However, we know that studio folks are working hard on rectifying this misrepresentation. My expectation is that we’ll see a huge improvement over the next few years. At the core of WIA’s mission is the belief that having more female and diverse voices heard will make animation and our culture in general richer, more entertaining and more lucrative.

Miyazaki is absolutely a pioneer. Most of his lead characters are girls, spunky, adventurous, thoughtful and clever girls at that. I discovered his films in the 80’s when I was raising my children. I was so relieved to have for my daughter as well as my son, something to watch that gave them an alternative view. It’s unfortunate that more parents aren’t aware of his films. But I wouldn’t give the pioneer medal to all Japanese animation. There is an awful lot of Anime that undoes all the good that Miyazaki did. Perhaps if there were more women directing and writing Anime, we’d see a great art form elevated.

O.P. : Behind the screen, what can you tell us about the representativeness of women and parity in the studios of creation and production of animation ? Even today, what explains why women are always a minority in this sector ?

M.D. : Our research showed that animation programs across the country were predominantly women. This last year, California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) announced that their animation program was 75% female. But it turns out that women are only getting about 23% of the creative jobs. Interestingly, they get 65-70% of the production management jobs. Women are not ending up in the place where their voices will be heard but rather in a role where they foster and support the vision of others.

The risk-averse culture leads to the same people getting jobs over and over again. A lot of money is at stake and people don’t want to take a chance on someone newer. Also there is still the misconception that boys won’t watch stories with girl leads and women don’t know how to tell boy stories. We can’t forget, that this industry is still controlled by people of an older generation (mine), who have old ideas of what women can and can’t do. But there is something different with the upcoming leadership. Most younger men that I meet completely embrace women in creative roles and see women as a great untapped resource.

And then there are the women themselves with issues of confidence and being driven enough to go after a position no matter what. It is contrary to the socialization of most women to be aggressive in any way especially on behalf of themselves. And that’s what it takes to be successful in the creative industry. You need to be talented, tough and driven. WIA’s work is to remind them that they deserve to have their voices heard, and support them through the challenges and hardships by building a community of people committed to a greater diversity of animated films, television, shorts, games, VR/AR and VFX

margaret-dean-women-in-animation-stoopid-buddy-stoodios

Margaret Dean, real-life Wonder-Woman: activist and co-president of Women In Animation

 

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The wonder women of musicals

Music - May 24, 2017

The super powers of the wonder woman of cinema are very diverse. Some can read minds, others have mastered martial arts like no other but a lot of them are experts when it comes to singing and dancing.

Here’s a selection of our favorites songs from musicals where females take the lead.

Get your mic and your two-step ready!

 

  1. Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
  2. Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg
  3. Catherine Deneuve in The Young Girls Of Rochefort
  4. Emma Stone in La La Land
  5. Anna Kendricks in Pitch Perfect
  6. Björk in Dancer In The Dark
  7. Diana Ross in The Wiz
  8. Barbra Streisand in A Star Is Born
  9. Whitney Houston in Bodyguard
  10. Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia

And if you have a Deezer subscription, see you there

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Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o in a movie all because of a meme...

Stories - May 24, 2017

To think it all started out as an internet joke…

Who remembers this picture of Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o, front row at Miu Miu’s fashion show in 2014?
Many saw in it the perfect still shot for a movie where the singer would play a boisterous female hero and the actress her genius hacker bestie.

http://elizabitchtaylor.tumblr.com/post/90856351997/they-look-like-theyre-in-a-heist-movie-with

A few weeks ago, the two superstars even exchanged a few tweets where they said they’d be down to star in a flick along those lines.

Well, it turns out Netflix have just announced that a movie based on the meme was in development… with Rihanna and Lupita as the lead characters.

Ava Duvernay, the director of Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro, will be in charge of directing the ladies starting early 2018 and Issa Rae from the critically acclaimed and Golden Globe-nominated TV show Insecure is set to take screenwriting duties.

Talk about girl power!

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When Supergirl supports her friend Wonder Woman

Stories - May 25, 2017

The promo run for “Wonder Woman” is in full motion. Everywhere you turn you can see something related to the movie. After the MTV Movie Awards, the fierce hero is on TV again.

In a promo spot for “Supergirl” (another DC Comics project), Melissa Benoist – who plays the lead character – swaps her signature knee-high boots for those of her friend Wonder Woman.

Funnily enough, Lynda Carter who is none other than the original Wonder Woman appears in the video. She plays the role of president Olivia Marsdin in the show. All in the family!

With Supergirl renewed for a third season and Wonder Woman about to reign supreme over the box office, looks like 2017 is the year of the woman for DC Comics

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... and the first gender-neutral award goes to Emma Watson

Stories - May 26, 2017

Emma Watson is back at it. After winning the very first gender-neutral award at the MTV Movie Awards  for the role of “Belle” in Beauty And The Beast, she delivered another uplifting and inspiring speech about equality.

The concept of gender-neutral awards is amazing and a true step in the right direction… in theory. Our issue is that women still aren’t represented enough in the film industry, so awards like this one are bound to be given out to more males than females anyway.

Let’s not forget that Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to ever win Best Director at the Oscars, so maybe we should wait a little bit before we make gender-neutral a “thing”

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Nicole Kidman is Cannes 2017's wonder woman

Stories - May 29, 2017

Congratulations are in order for Nicole Kidman who has just bagged Cannes‘ special 70th anniversary prize. It was created for the occasion and celebrates the stellar career of Miss Kidman.

Nicole has had her fair share of varied and layered roles; let’s not forget she went from cabaret actress in Moulin Rouge to Monegasque princess in Grace Of Monaco.
Actually, isn’t playing a major strong female character what she does best? The infamous writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours, a doting and loving adoptive mother in Lion, a witty enchantress in Bewitched, a young orphan girl in Cold Mountain, a scientist madly in love with Bruce Wayne’s alter ego in Batman Forever and as of late a punk rock designer in How To Talk To Girls At Parties which premiered in Cannes this year, she does it all and she does so amazingly.

Though the actress’ absence was felt at the festival’s closing ceremony, we got the amazing imitation by Will Smith of Kidman receiving her award (watch it below alongside Nicole’s video acceptance speech)


Nicole Kidman (Prix spécial du 70ème) “la… par CinemaCanalPlus

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Cara Delevingne in 'Valerian': the pressure's on!

Stories - May 30, 2017

Next July, Luc Besson’s latest flick Valerian will hit the screens and we couldn’t be happier as it is, alongside Wonder Woman, one of our most anticipated films of the year.

Dane DeHaan is obviously the lead character, but what got people talking is Miss Cara Delevingne’s portrayal of “Laureline”. Indeed, everybody knows just how iconic Luc’s female characters are so the question on people’s mind is “Will Delevingne live up to the standards of her predecessors?”

Nikita, Leelou, Lucy (even Selenia in Arthur and The Invisbles) are all what can only be described as bad ass characters and it seems like Laureline also falls in that category.
And we’re not talking about your random kick ass female protagonist, after all Laureline’s name was added to the original comics title after her character was deemed an essential part of the story.

We hope this movie turns Cara into the world class actress she wants to be and that we get in Laureline a new emblematic character to add to an already impressive but definitely not complete list of wonder women of cinema.

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See you next week!

To be continued - May 24, 2017

Next Wednesday, get ready to sweat with VR !

 

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