Archives For greta garbo

I really can’t remember exactly when I started out the Top Flicks About Chicks list on MUBI, but it must have been around the same time I wrote how Chick Flicks was a doomed genre in regards of critics. So it might be almost 4 years… and I’ve finally reached 300 titles in the list!!!

A Chick Flick should center on little girls, girls, young women and women… as students, as neighbors, as friends, as daughters, as granddaughters, as sisters, as mothers, as lovers. They are simply women. With that alone, we can tell all sort of other stories that have little to do with romantic comedies.

The purpose of the list, of course, was to encompass an array of female character — not only in the binary sense, since the list also includes men/boys who identify as women/girls… and viceversa — of various cultural, ethnic, social backgrounds. Not favoring one genre over the other, not valuing dramas over comedies… just simple stories about different women.

Though I’m sure the list could be longer, that’s 300 feature length films out of the 2896 (counting shorts) currently rated on the site- that’s roughly 10% so I suppose the list could expand to up to 500 or maybe 1000 once I reach 5000 or 10000 rated films on the site.

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1. Treeless Mountain 2. Welcome to the Dollhouse 3. Juliana 4. Labyrinth 5. Fuckin’ Amal 6. Mirrormask 7. Gun Hill Road 8. Pariah 9. Bend it like Beckham 10. Swing Girls 11. The Land of the Deaf 12. Sunny 13. Whip It 14. Stoker 15. Maria Full of Grace 16. Breaking the Waves 17. My Marlon and Brando 18. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 19. Dil Bole Hadippa! 20. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 21. Kotoko 22. Violeta Went to Heaven 23. Skin 24. Raise the Red Lantern 25. Incendies

I picked 25 of the 300 films to illustrate some of the variety (I hope it’s AS varied as I intend the list to be), though I ran out of picks and couldn’t include any of the ‘older’ female characters. If I could pick 5 more, they’d be: Lemon Tree, Frozen River, Late Bloomers, Mother, For 80 Days.

When women play tomboy girls or girls who have to pretend to be boys on screen is hardly believable, mainly because mainstream actresses are normally TOO pretty and productions wouldn’t bump the masculinity to make them look less like girls — at least that USED to happen in a film like Queen Christina (and Morocco, though I don’t think Marlene Dietrich intends to play tomboy as much as play Dietrich on that) [1].

Actresses like Bynes in She’s the Man [1] didn’t exactly hit the mark, though it could come close to Ella Chen’s level in Hana Kimi [1]. However, the other adaptations of the same manga series- the Japanese version of Hana Kimi with Horikita Maki [1] or the most recent Korean version To the Beautiful You with f(x)’s Sulli [1] suffer from similar problems. Same could be said for Zhao Wei- maybe I could overlook her role in Red Cliff [1][2], but I definitely CAN’T overlook her prettyfied self in Mulan [1].

In general, though, Taiwan and China leave me very surprised with the gender-bending… intended or unintended. It’s countless the times that I’ve asked myself whether I was seeing or listening to a boy or a girl. It doesn’t help that most names (without characters) look very gender-neutral.

ANYWAY, I’ve gone way off topic here. The main thing in this post is supposed to be Rani Mukerji, whom I saw for the very first time in Dil Bole Hadippa. Though it’s a pretty decent film, I’ve come to appreciate it more now for Rani- especially for her mannerisms in the Bhangra Bistar number. Though the number is before she gets to pretend to be a guy, her character works as a performer at a moving acting troop, with the lack of a leading man… she’s made to play the part.

And she does it perfectly.

I usually very hard to please on these issues, but Mukerji sells me the role of ‘the dude’ in this one. She pulls it off better than Ella or Bynes, though all of them get to be funny while doing so.

You can even see a bit of the shooting of this part of the film [1].

There’s also an official upload, but quality is not as good and they only include the musical numbers without context.

I’ve got some pretty nice recommendations to share.

yammag-amy-recommendations

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Look at that flawless face.

garbo crawford susan lenox possessed

Both films featuring Clark Gable, released in 1931, and having a leading lady of rather humble beginnings that manages to rise to the top using her… er, skills. Of course, both Susan Lenox and Possessed have very different results. Though the cinematography in Susan Lenox is quite sublime at times — the whole introduction was marvelous with the shadows — I left rather disappointed by the end of the whole movie.

I’ve come to prefer Joan Crawford on screen~~~ remember, I got into her after I saw her on Grand Hotel, which came in the Garbo bundle. I was just left mesmerized. “Who is this woman, and where has she been all my movie-life???” So I do think Possessed edges Lenox by a pretty long thread. Despite its weak resolution, Possessed still holds itself pretty darn well. But even I must admit, I feel Garbo’s magnetism oozing from this still… even more so than I do with Crawford.

So… to me, Garbo on still. Crawford on screen.

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