“So be ambitious. Keep yourself busy. Think bigger. Expand your audience. Don’t hobble yourself in the name of “keeping it real,” or “not selling out.” Try new things. If an opportunity comes along that will allow you to do more of the kind of work you want to do, say Yes. If an opportunity comes along that would mean more money, but less of the kind of work you want to do, say No.”
"Michael and I were eating empanadas on a big brick bridge in Rio, and he was rolling his eyes about a fight he had gotten into with his dad that morning.
'Be careful, son.' Michael pulled his shoulders back and deepened his voice. 'Testosterone is the world’s most powerful drug.'
It was the same fight they’d been having every day that week, about our dangerous tendency of sneaking into each other’s rooms while they were out, about my wandering hand, which Michael’s mother had seen in his lap yesterday afternoon, and our attempts to spend unchaperoned time together in the later hours of the evening.”
My screenwriting professor sent out an email the other day about the memorable ending scene in The Godfather: Part 1. I wrote back with a mini-essay about a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about: the absence of strong female characters in movies about men and politics and nation-building and power and war as a feminist message in itself, rather than an anti-feminist act in its failure to acknowledge the female perspective.
It’s not just in The Godfather but, as I mention below, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Children of Men, too. Give me a bit and I’ll think of a few more. Anyway here’s the email, since it’s an idea worth thinking about:
"In this ending scene, there is an implicit reference to the virtually nonexistent role of women and feminine/motherly qualities in the male-dominated world of the mafia (and, if you see the mafia as a micro-example of the violent, unsympathetic way men grow and build empires, "civilized" politics & government as well). Right after Michael lies to his wife about murdering his sister’s husband, his all-male inner circle of advisers comes in, shakes hands with him and they begin to talk business as they close the door (physically and symbolically) on Kate and everything that she represents as a wife and mother.
"I’ve often wondered if the lack of developed female characters in parts 1 & 2 was intended by Coppola to be a commentary on the need for women or at least empathy, understanding, forgiveness, and other qualities generally associated with the feminine, in our attempts to build civilizations and live in relative peace with one another. As if to say, if only men would take a lesson from women, we’d avoid a whole lot of hurt that we bring upon ourselves now.
"There was a similar moment in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a film in which the cast is entirely male, the story about how men and nations mistreat other men and nations in their quest for power. At one particularly high-stress moment in the film, I remember one of the characters standing next to a brick wall that had been vandalized with the message "THE FUTURE IS FEMALE." Sounds like Alfredson might be on the same page.
"All of this is so interesting to me as someone who spent a lot of time reading feminist critiques that stop short at pointing out the lack of female characters in many Hollywood narratives— for some of these directors, maybe that absence is intentional— maybe (just maybe) it’s the whole point.”