March 27 2016 Drama Movies Newsletter
"I'm comfortable with the word 'feminist' because half the world isn't getting what it deserves. Women blame themselves for everything that is wrong, and men never do that. We have to stop blaming ourselves for what we don't have and start asking for what we deserve - whether it's more money or more work or whatever." Filmmaker Isabel Coixet
Coixet directed "Learning to Drive", the subject of this week's review. Coixet treats her female and male characters in the film with equal sympathy, which coincides with her definition of feminism above. What struck me about the movie, however, was its association with two other films, "Cairo Time" and "Mississippi Masala". Patricia Clarkson is the lead in "Cairo Time" and Sarita Choudhury is the lead in "Mississippi Masala"; both of them appear in "Learning to Drive".
All three films are directed by women, and all three feature a romance between a man and a woman from different cultures. In "Mississippi Masala", directed by Mira Nair, a relationship develops between an African-American man (Denzel Washington) and a young Indian woman (Sarita Choudhury). In "Cairo Time", directed by Ruba Nadda, a married American woman (Patricia Clarkson) develops feelings for an Egyptian man. In "Learning to Drive", the relationship is between an American woman and a Sikh immigrant from India. In only one of the films is the relationship consummated. All three have their merits, and it would make an interesting weekend film festival to watch them consecutively.
The National Association of Theater Owners holds its annual convention April 11-14th in Las Vegas. One topic sure to be discussed is the Screening Room. This is a new service that hopes to stream movies in-home on the same day they play in theaters. The service would charge $150 dollars for a set-top box and $50 for a two-day rental period in which to watch the movie. Not surprisingly, many theater owners are against the idea, citing piracy fears and loss of business. Filmmaker Bill Mechanic also made an important point. When a theatrical film becomes just one of the thousands (or millions) of videos streaming on the web, chances are it will get overlooked by viewers who already have too many choices. The Bellonline forum is always available if you have a view to express on this issue, or anything else!
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Learning to Drive Film Review
A woman stunned by the dissolution of her marriage regains a sense of self-reliance by learning to drive. Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley star in this thoughtful drama from director Isabel Coixet.
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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor
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