Connect with us

Enviroment

Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.

Advertisement

"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality.

"If our generation played the patience game, I think the generation after us are like, 'Why? It's been too long'," she said. "I don't know if I'm personally angry but I'm extremely heartened that the conversation is different… around power, around consent, around input to stories, around safe work practices. It's quite extraordinary the change in the last two years."

Griffiths stressed the need for equality was much wider than just film and television, affecting women working in journalism, waitressing, driving buses and in other industries.

"Women are having conversations with each other and what we've realised is that… respect for women [has to be a given] for women to feel safe and participating."

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin said the new government scheme, called #SheDirects, provided $100,000 to develop up to four one-hour television dramas led by female directors in a NSW-based creative team.

It would "open up new opportunities and reduce the barriers for female directors in NSW and indeed across the country," he said.

Rachel Griffiths, NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin and Leah Purcell at the launch of the scheme to encourage more women directors in television.

Photo: Louie Douvis .

The scheme is part of an initiative by arts agency Create NSW to have a 50:50 gender equity for screen funding by 2020.

Griffiths urged the corporate sector to adopt a similar goal.

"I hope that the 50:50 by 2020 might flow upstairs to some boardrooms where both the opportunities for deep change and the foundations of deep resistance can be found," she said.

Leah Purcell, the actor-writer-director who is preparing to turn her award-winning play The Drover's Wife into a feature film, said she had benefited from government support for indigenous short films which led to directing the television series Redfern Now, Cleverman and The Secret Daughter.

"I'm a result of initiatives, targets and quotas, especially give the fact that I didn't go to any sort of film school, writing school or acting school so I needed all the bloody help I could get," she said. "I was a young black girl from the bush who had dreams and aspirations to be in the entertainment industry. #SheDirects will do the same for others."

Garry Maddox

Garry Maddox is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Most Viewed in Entertainment

Morning & Afternoon Newsletter

Delivered Mon–Fri.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Enviroment

‘Extended run’ of heat set to last all week

The heat that has plagued Australia’s south and west is set to linger. But when the mercury does finally drop, it looks like rain will replace the warmth – at least in the country’s south east.

Both Perth and Melbourne have both been solidly in heatwaves.

On Sunday, Perth recorded an extraordinary six days in a row surpassing 40C. That’s a heat feat not seen since a string of scorching days in Adelaide in 2009.

Some blessed relief from the unbearable heat in Perth is due for the coming days – it’s now just going to be moderately baking. But another 40C day is expected soon enough.

Melbourne hit 32.6C on Sunday following a 32.3C high on Saturday. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said the city is set for an “extended run” of heat this week.

Most of Victoria and Tasmania will be in low intensity heatwave week with highs in Melbourne of 34C on multiple days.

But the monsoon is getting stronger in the country’s north and that’s sending rain towards the south and east as the week progresses.

Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said a low pressure system forming around northern Australia could deliver 100mm or more of rain over the Top End and had the potential to form into a cyclone.

“Tropical moisture is well and truly in the mix and is aiding the heavy falls we’ve been seeing in many parts of the country.

“That wet weather is generally edging slightly eastwards. So there’s potential for south eastern Australia to see a lot of rainfall towards the back end of the week, with heavy falls a threat,” he said.

But that’s not for a few days yet. Up until at least Thursday, Melbourne should be dry with 33-34C maximums most days and nights only dipping down to 21C or so.

The BOM has warned it will be humid and there is the chance of storms.

Temperatures could come down from Thursday with the possibility of some substantial rain leading into the weekend.

Across the Bass Strait and Tasmania is in the same heatwave, but the maximums will be far lower than Victoria.

Hobart is looking at a week of temperatures in the mid-twenties and dawn lows of 16C. Just like Victoria, the Apple Isle will be dry until the end of the week when some showers are likely.

Perth set to cool down … finally

On the tail end of the systems that’s caused so much rain in the centre of South Australia, Adelaide has seen some decent falls this weekend with 23mm of rain falling on Saturday and almost another 20mm on Sunday.

There will be some warmth and humidity to begin the week in Adelaide with a high of 29C on Monday rising to 31C by Wednesday before a few days in the mid-twenties. Minimums will be around 20C.

There could be some showers on Tuesday.

Monday could still a storm or two and some rain in areas most affected by the rain this weekend including Whyalla, Port August and Port Lincoln. Floods remain a risk in the mod north, Flinders Ranges, west coast and Eyre and Yorke peninsulas.

There is the possibility of up to 120mm of rain falling into Monday n some areas.

Across the Nullarbor and the low intensity heatwave should move away from Perth on Monday but could continue around the Gascoyne.

Monday to Thursday should see highs of between 31C and 33C in Perth with mid teen minimums. That’s far cooler than the last week. But come Friday and the mercury is set to rise once again with a possibility of 40C on Sunday.

Summery and settled in east

Wet in Darwin to begin the week with 10-35mm falling on Monday and a further 8-20mm on Tuesday. Thunderstorms could crop up most days. Warm with highs of 31-33C this week and 25C lows.

The east coast should be relatively settled and summery. This week will see a run of 30C plus days in Brisbane with 31C the norm. Overnight, it should dip down to 20C. Some showers are possible on Wednesday.

A possible shower or two in Sydney on Monday but nothing too heavy. The rest of the week is looking dry.

Maximum temperatures on the Harbour City of 26C on Monday rising to 28C on Wednesday and then as much as 30C on Friday. Lows overnight of around 19C.

Dry in Canberra with highs of 27-29C but potentially up to 31C on Friday. Temperatures should fall to the mid-teens after dark.

SOURCE

Continue Reading

Enviroment

So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn

Advertisement

Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

Continue Reading

Enviroment

Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.

Advertisement

"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending