In a forward direction: Kathryn Bigelow
The very superficial assumption that the artistic work of a woman will always be easily discernible as being influenced very heavily by the gender is an assumption which Kathryn Bigelow has broken. And how! She burst into the scene and transformed movies and the concept of the depiction of violence in movies. The first woman-director to win an Academy Award, and BAFTA award, along with several other award shows where the nominations for directors consisted exclusively of men.
Although Bigelow insists that her movies are not made with the intention of breaking down these gender stereotypes, it is exactly what these movies have done.
Educated, talented, fearless and ambitious are words which are inextricably linked to this director who was born in 1951, to a Norwegian mother (Gertude Kathryn) and father Ronald Elliot Bigelow. Kathryn started exploring her creativity as she grew up, and film-making was not something which struck her immediately. She studied the fine arts, she dabbled in real estate, she went on to study theory and criticism from the Columbia University, and she gradually started veering towards film-making. The Set-Up, which is a 20-minute long short film she made, can almost be called her theme in all her movies. The short film was about the depiction of violence in movies. She went on to direct movies such as The Loveless(1982), Near Dark(1987), Point Break(1991), Strange Days(1995), and the acclaimed Hurt Locker(2009), as well as Zero Dark Thirty(2012).
She has managed to redefine the expression of contemporary issues, such as violence (especially in the context of war), racial politics, political turbulences and interpersonal relationships.
During an interview by MICHELLE P. PERRY, where Kathryn Bigelow and Jamie Lee Curtis were asked questions during the advent of Blue Steel, Kathryn said something which will go down in history as being one of the most eloquent answers by a woman on the subject of film-making: “If there's specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can't change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies. It's irrelevant who or what directed a movie, the important thing is that you either respond to it or you don't. There should be more women directing; I think there's just not the awareness that it's really possible. It is.”
Bigelow was married to James Cameron from 1989 to 1991. They got divorced later, and soon, both were nominees to the Director’s Awards. Kathryn Bigelow was called for The Hurt Locker. This movie, which got her more than twenty awards all over the world, deals with the power equations and the American troops in Iraq. It is a beautifully done movie, which will doubtless go down in the annals of film-history as one of the best-made war movies, especially on this subject. Zero Down Thirty, which is about the American efforts to get Osama Bin Laden is also a movie steeped in her unique treatment of violence and power play. This does not mean that she condones violence. Rather, it points to the existence of it, and how subversive the different levels of violence really are! Bigelow, in short, stands as a shining example of what women can do, and how they can really break moulds if they choose to do so.