Calling the Shots | Chicago Reader

Calling the Shots

A watchable and interesting documentary by Janis Cole and Holly Dale about women who make movies—mainly directors, but also a few screenwriters, producers, and actresses. Among the women interviewed are Lee Grant, Susan Seidelman, Lizzie Borden, Joyce Chopra, Joan Micklin Silver, Martha Coolidge, Joan Tewkesbury, Amy Heckerling, Claudia Weill, Sandy Wilson, Jeanne Moreau, Sherry Lansing, Agnes Varda, Penelope Spheeris, and, more briefly, Chantal Akerman and Lea Pool; some filmmakers, such as Coolidge and Wilson, are also shown at work. The main limitation of this intelligent if somewhat breezy survey is its overall slant toward the contemporary North American mainstream; while a few pioneers are evoked, figures as important as Maya Deren, Leni Riefenstahl, Vera Chytilova, and such contemporary experimental filmmakers as Yvonne Rainer, Leslie Thornton, and Trinh T. Minh-ha go unmentioned. Still, the exploration of contemporary attitudes towards women making movies is broad and informative (1988).

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