Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can Anybody Make a Movie for Women of Color?

One hears often the criticism that people of color make too much of a deal about race. Sometimes that criticism has merit and sometimes it does not. I was attracted to this NY Times Magazine article by Daphne Merkin featuring Nancy Meyers, the writer-director-producer. Ms. Meyers directs, among other duties, the forthcoming movie "It's Complicated." The article is about Ms. Meyers' successful career in making movies for women and featuring women in lead roles. Notwithstanding the tile of the story--Can Anybody Make a Movie for Women--I was not surprised that Ms. Meyers makes movies really about and for white women. And I was not bothered by that fact in anyway.  In fact that's what interested me in the story; I wanted to know how she did it. But I was surprised and slightly annoyed by how Ms. Merkin deals with this issue--that Ms. Meyers is capable of telling the stories of and relating to only white women in the moviemaking.

Literally in a parenthetical she notes that the movie wold that Ms. Meyers creates  "is also almost pre-ethnic — with the exception of the Asian actor B. D. Wong, who appears in “Father of the Bride” and its sequel, few non-Caucasian faces appear in Meyers’s movies."  Pre-ethnic?  Was there ever such a time?  What does "pre-ethnic" mean?  Is this a world where people of color did not exist?  If that is true then it seems that Ms. Meyers' movies are still pre-ethnic.  Is pre-ethnic the euphemism for all-white.  

I wish that Ms. Merkin had not dealt with this issue at all than to note it in such an off-handed manner.  This does not seem to me to be an issue that can be dismissed in a parenthetical.  And pre-ethnic?

No comments:

Post a Comment