Forty years of Greta Gerwig – Il Post

After its huge success, Barbie is at the peak of her career as a director, but there have been many other things to do before.

Greta Gerwig is one of only seven women nominated for the Best Director Oscar since their inception. He wrote and directed one of the most talked about and watched films of the year. Barbie, with a $100 million budget and over $800 million in two weeks. And, despite the fact that so far he has made only three films – Lady Bird (2017) Small woman (2019) and indeed Barbie one of the most popular directors in Hollywood.

Born forty years ago in Sacramento, California city, which is unflattering Lady Bird, as a child, Gerwig was not particularly interested in cinema, more in theater. She fell in love with him in college while studying literature and philosophy at a women’s college and began acting in small independent productions on stage and later in film. He found his place in the so-called scene mumblecore, characterized by very low-budget films dealing with personal relationships between young people, with impromptu scripts and non-professional actors. Given the centrality of improvisation in these films, Gerwig was immediately able to take an active role in building dialogue, characters and stories, lending his own style to the productions he participated in and laying the groundwork for later more important jobs such as screenwriting.

“She was funny and a little goofy. His characters were sexy (perhaps sexualized) but crude, crude and realistic,” journalist Allison P. Davis wrote in Vultures: “Writing off scripts and playing in the films of Joe Swanberg and the Duplass brothers, Gerwig became the only girl among the boys.” The newspapers called her the face of the movement, the “queen of mumblecore,” the Meryl Streep of independent cinema.

During this time, Gerwig starred in 25 films. The most famous black and white film Francis Ha, 2012, which she helped write, in which she played an aspiring dancer on the brink of poverty who lives with her best friend in New York City with no clear direction in life: the role earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. In her roles at the time, writes Davies, Gerwig tended to play “women who cling to and are gradually forced out of an impractical and precarious (financially and emotionally) existence.”

The last film he acted in was White noisereleased in 2022 and inspired by the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo: So Too Francis Ha it was directed by Noah Baumbach. In addition to working together on numerous films, Gerwig and Baumbach are a couple in life: they met on the set of Wacky World of Greenberg and they have two children. Gerwig, who is 14 years younger than her partner, has long been considered by critics as her “inspiring muse”: a role from which she immediately wanted to emancipate herself, already emphasizing in a 2015 interview that “she was lucky to find a collaborator and soul mate, but she did not you need a man, and she would have made a career anyway.

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach at the London Film Festival, October 2022. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)

“What has always set Gerwig apart from so many of his Mumblecore contemporaries is the feeling that he has always had ambitions outside of the movement,” Darren Mooney explained on Escapist. Before making his debut as a director, he starred in several more popular films such as comedy. Friends, lovers and…, To Rome with love Woody Allen Jackie Pablo Lorren. However, his main ambition since college days has been to make his own films. And not just independent films: Steven Spielberg-esque films, which Gerwig says are the best example of a director able to make “genre” cinema personal.

She succeeded: all three films she made are very different in genre and production, but still retain a clear authorial quality that allows film lovers to recognize her touches. “Gerwig’s cinematic work is based on his desire to question femininity. She is known for her passion for telling women’s stories with soul and humor, and for her intimate “indie” cinematic style,” wrote Jessica Ford on Talk.

In 2017, his first film as a director, Lady Bird, was exceptionally successful: nominated for an Oscar in five categories, making her the fifth woman nominated in the Best Director category in the history of the prestigious Hollywood award. Fitting in with so-called coming-of-age films that traditionally focus almost exclusively on the anguish of young people seeking to find out who they really are, Lady Bird she did something that is still quite rare in mainstream cinema by placing a young woman at the center of the trouble. Christine, the main character played by Saoirse Ronan (the one who will play the main character Jo March in Small woman), grew up in Sacramento, like Gerwig, but the director said the resemblance to her biography ends there. Unlike the character, who is stubborn, strong-willed, eccentric and desperate to escape the boredom of the suburbs, Gerwig said she was a soft-spoken girl focused primarily on pleasing everyone.

The novelty of the film Lady Bird was supposed to present an intimate and personal female story with the same seriousness and universality that had hitherto been reserved predominantly for male stories. “In most films, girls are needed to be looked at. Sometimes they help the male leader to realize himself. Sometimes they die. But in Lady Bird“Gerwig makes Kristin the subject who seeks: boys, as well as houses, magazines, books, clothes, the city of Sacramento,” Kristin Smallwood wrote on The newspaper “New York Times.

According to Smallwood, “Gerwig is not to be blamed for being frivolous: his speeches are riddled with references to George Eliot, Elena Ferrante, Maggie Nelson, Simone Weil, Milton and Kierkegaard. But the way he distributes his empathy has an undeniable magical effect. The result is delightful and a bit romantic – delightful, perhaps because it is romantic, it shows life as it should be or could be.” The film made such an impression that several girls online reported calling their mothers to apologize for being difficult teenagers after watching the film.

A very similar approach is found in the second film. Small womanreleased in Italy in 2020. Another film adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic of the same name, it was nominated for six Oscars (only one for Best Costume Design) and several other awards. small woman shares with Lady Birdbut also with Barbie AND Francis Ha, not only the fact that women’s struggles are honestly depicted, but also the presence of dialogues that in themselves contain the essence of the film and which are well written and able to reach everyone. IN small woman it’s a monologue in which Jo March says in tears that she feels “women have ambition and they have talent, not just beauty, and I’m so tired of people saying that love is the only thing I’m into I can strive, I’m tired of listening to this, but I’m also so lonely.

IN Francis Ha, where Gerwig’s character explains what kind of love she wants in her life: “like at a party and you’re both talking to other people and you’re there and you’re gorgeous and then you look across the room and you make eye contact with him, but not because you are possessive or because of some sexual instinct, but because he is the right person for you in this life. IN Lady Bird is the message the protagonist leaves on his mother’s answering machine, apologizing for being an insufferable teenager. IN Barbie there are two: one, spoken by a character played by America Ferrera, deals with the contradictions women face on a daily basis. The other, Stereotypical Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, expresses the desire common to all Gerwig characters to be the creator of their own destiny, and not just someone else’s idea.

– Read also: Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is amazing.

“Looking at Gerwig’s career and the core message of the film, it’s clear why she was the perfect director for a project like Barbie» wrote website Collidersand added that it brought “a certain depth and self-awareness to a concept that could easily have remained one-dimensional in the hands of another director.” Barbie was a resounding success, grossing $155 million in the United States alone on its first weekend of release in theaters, and managed to spread the word about feminism and patriarchy even to people who never thought about it.

Gerwig recently confirmed that he would be directing at least two films for Netflix set in the universe. The Chronicles of Narnia, fantasy series by C. S. Lewis. She said she was afraid, but added that “when I’m scared, it’s always a good sign.”

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