HE reader LexG just said something that struck a truth chord for me, to wit: “Female directors by and large aren’t very visual.” I would put it this way instead: I don’t recall detecting (and I’ll fully admit that I haven’t been vigilant enough in watching the work of unsung women directors) a raging obsessive visionary gene in women directors and, now that you mention it, women dps.
There’s a certain tone of compassionate frankness — a kind of less-is-more, fair-minded, eye-level sanity or rational tidiness in the visual signatures of certain female-directed and female-shot films. One major exception: Kathryn Bigelow‘s direction of The Hurt Locker (boosted by Barry Ackroyd‘s cinematography).
I know I’m going to get screamed at for this, but I’m asking myself where are the super-cranked visual hardcase female directors and dps? Where is the female Gordon Willis, Vittorio Storaro, Emanuel Lubezski, Chris Doyle, Conrad Hall? Where is the female-directed film with, to name bu tone example, one of those audacious Scorsese shots, like that famous one in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco walk through the rear entrance of the Copa and through all the kitchens and utility rooms and back hallways?
There are a lot of female “versions,” I believe, of ordered and painterly dps like James Wong Howe , Freddie Francis, John Alcott or Roger Deakins even, but it’s hard to think of women who’ve shown the kind of striking pizazz and/or stunning pictorial compositions that one associates with Gregg Toland, Michael Chapman or Nestor Almendros.
I know I’m being a bit simplistic and ignorant. I’m mainly asking for names that I and others need to hear about. There are obviously many, many excellent female directors and dps out there — don’t get me wrong. I just can’t remember any who’ve shown an “eye” or a shooting style that I would call fevered or amped-up and rule-breaking crazy.