All of this led me to pick Ramsay when I made a conscious decision to pick a female filmmaker to do a brief retrospective on. Women still are grossly underrepresented behind the camera, and that needs to change. Ramsay, who hopefully will not have her career derailed because of a dispute that saw her leave her latest film right before shooting was to begin (and the media firestorm, which included some blatantly sexist remarks against Ramsay), because she strikes me as just the type of female filmmaker the cinema world needs right now.
I remember a few years ago, having a conversation with another (male) film buff, who complained that female filmmakers make films that aren’t very visually interesting. That they concentrate too much on writing and performance, and not enough on how a film looks and feels. This was a ridiculous claim at the time – just think of the distinctive visual films of those five female filmmakers above for example, or look back through cinema history to the like of Chantal Ackerman, Jane Campion, Ida Lupino or hell, even Leni Riefenstahl for further proof. I know what he was talking about – it’s the same thing Nicole Holofcener is always hit with when she makes a film – like last year’s Enough Said, which some complained was “too sitcom-ish” – proving, if nothing else, that they don’t watch many sitcoms.
Even if it were true, than Ramsay wouldn’t fit into that narrowly defined role set out by this other guy. Ramsay is the very definition of a filmmaker who shows, not tells – even in something like We Need to Talk About Kevin, which was a very “literary” book, that Ramsay turned into a very “cinematic” movie.
Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough in this introduction. Let’s get to the first actual post – about Ramsay’s three short films made before her debut feature.