Discussion of Molly Haskell at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club
Richard Brody shared a link.
Busy day: the voting meeting of the New York Film Critics Circle, a group that I have the honor of being a member of, was held earlier today, and the results are in—the list is below. Not all of the films or performances are among my favorites, but I was especially pleased by several of the awards (including Tiffany Haddish as best supporting actress, Faces Places as best nonfiction film, and Get Out as best first feature). Too soon to say anything about Phantom Thread, which opens Dec. 25—I've seen it, but reviews and social-media comments are still under embargo. (To explain: often, when studios offer press screenings, they do so with the stipulation that reviews and comments not be made public until a specified date.) And the special award for the critic Molly Haskell is a true inspiration—her 1974 book From Reverence to Rape, about the representation of women in movies, is a landmark in film criticism. The other critics' group of which I'm a member, the National Society of Film Critics, votes Jan. 6; will report back.
Mark Schaffer Great for her..
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Stephen Sposato Hooray for Molly Haskell!
Naylor Kauffman Quinn Is this the same awards event where Tiff Haddish won?
Mark Schaffer Yes
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston In Molly Haskell's interview with Matt Zoller Seitz, she explains men's fear of women as, in part, owing to fear of the strong mother... there's a bit where she talks about Doris Day films and her partners, all "dubious male[s]," as being so threatening to men it spawned a new age of cinema where maternal, emasculating women were eviscerated out of existence. I wasn't familiar with her, so this was the first time I heard of her favouring the studio period for its ostensibly giving more and better roles to women over "liberated" film culture of the 60s/70s, and of her being attacked by the likes of Ms. magazine for this support of the studio cage.
What I remember of feminism in the 70s though, was a willingness by feminists to explore not simply men's problems with their mothers, but of their own problems with them. And not generalizing, that is, not all men fear their mothers because of powers of giving birth or something, but particularizing, making clear that Winnicott's concept of "good enough mothering" doesn't wash as it screens one from actually making a close examination of your own particular mother treated you. Within '70s feminism was the kind of bold thinking that could lead to the, now, impossible-to-conceive argument that the reason why, say, Bill Clinton may have been a serial sadistic molester of women, owed to the particular manner in which his mother treated him (Hillary Clinton for example has hinted in that direction)... fear of being an emasculated male, owing not to universal fears, but to actual experiences of being overwhelmed by one's mother without sufficient support. Out of some strains of 70s feminism was actually support for women to themselves box out the Doris Days in film, fear the "castrating mother," and to be able to read Molly Haskell's endorsement of studio-rule as being needed to be put into context. For all culture in the 30s/40s turned away from the liberated 20s flapper and Freud's father towards endorsement of the maternal, the matriarch, the mother not the father as family's protector... and given the dubious overall quality of the Depression/War period, this may not have been only a more decent thing good thing.
Molly Haskell speaks with Matt Zoller Seitz about…
David Kaiser My favorite author on these subjects was the late Nancy Friday who died recently. In Jealousy, which is really her masterpiece, she says we ALL both love and fear our mothers as infants, because they provide all the things we need and we know, instinc...See More
David Kaiser Now about these awards--I'm assuming they are on the same calendar as the Oscars and I'm very surprised that Get Out was shut out.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston It may be related to the awards David Kaiser... isn't lady bird -- about strong-willed mother and with a vanishing father -- best film? The strong father has been revealed as a egoistic, abandoning, predator... all Weinsteins or Matt Lauers. Like 30s culture, the father has crashed and the mother is back in. Feminism? Individualization? Or people beating back to be children under maternal guardianship?