Who runs the (film) world? Girls

Who runs the (film) world? Girls

Girls on film are no longer only props or damsels in distress

Movie buffs this week focused on the news that just two out of the 19 directors competing for the Palme d'Or, the highest prize at the Cannes film festival were women. What's more, while the festival's opening film is by a female director, this is the first time this has happened since 1987, and only the second time ever.

The relative lack of women in film has been particularly under the microscope this year, with critics bemoaning the shortage of female directors, writers, producers and women-focused storylines, Meryl Streep setting up a group to write scripts for women over 40, and Rose Byrne has launched an all-female production company.

You might not expect these sort of positive moves in this direction come from summer blockbusters, but this summer could be the start of something new. As well as the slew of crucial female characters in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Charlize Theron's awesome turn in the Mad Max reboot, Pitch Perfect 2, the second instalment of the hugely popular teen movie with near cult status, is a celebration of women, girl power and female friendships.

Spoiler Alert: Young Post got to go to a preview screening, and Pitch Perfect 2 hits almost all the right notes

First of all, the film is about a group of young women, fighting to reclaim their a cappella crowns after an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction at the US President's birthday performance. The film follows their attempt to rise again to the top, and more importantly discover what it is that bonds them so tightly together.

Then there's the production team. Elizabeth Banks, who plays a cappella competition commentator Gail Abernathy-McKadden, is also a producer, and directing her first feature-length movie.

Alexis Knapp, who plays Stacie, had nothing but praise for Banks. She says: "I love that women are becoming more empowered and paving the road by having more females directing. That's inspiring to younger girls that you don't have to just be on camera to be in this industry; you can be the boss, too.

"We need more strong women, and Elizabeth is a fine example of that."

A major plot point in this film is the idea of mentoring Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), the young, new member of the Barden Bellas, and it's a point that's particularly close to Banks' heart.

"One of the great things I like about this project is the notion of women mentoring other women," she says. "I love that Beca [Anna Kendrick] mentors Emily, and Emily seeks that out. That's an important message to tell young girls: 'You don't get what you don't ask for, so if you want someone to mentor you, go ask for it.'"

In 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel devised a test to see if a film represented women fairly. It has to have at least two named women in it, who talk to each other, about something besides a man. Pitch Perfect 2 fits the bill completely - the lead characters are all female, they talk non-stop - mainly about singing, what they love, and their futures.

Finally, some people argue that women-focused storylines don't appeal to as many people as those with men in the lead roles. Try telling to the Green Bay Packers. Six players from this American football team - some of the "manliest" of men - were so obsessed with the first Pitch Perfect, they tweeted Banks, begging for a cameo. Sharing is caring, y'all.


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