Sadly, I do not know the names of many directors (male or female). For this assignment I had to Google “female directors” and I came upon an article. According to the article the numbers of female directors are increasing (YAY!). Of course this article named a few female directors and named a few works done by female directors. One of the names I stumbled upon was Lake Bell, who wrote and directed a short film called “Worst Enemies,” a film on body image.
Lake Bell is an actress turned director. Being a Hollywood, actress Lake Bell herself has been and is still playing as a victim in the male gaze. However, she is taking baby steps and changing that a little by becoming a filmmaker and breaking the boys club in filmmaking. This film is about body image and the insecurities embed in most females. Worst Enemy mocks women that feel insecure and ask questions like “does this make me fat?” I think Lake Bells approach with the short is to show how silly we females can be sometimes. It shows how obsessive females can get with looks and how easily they conform to images. In her interview with Moviefone, Lake Bell explains that the character Wooly is a mockery of herself and her friends.
Lake Bell is a very funny and down to earth person. Her creative skill is the use of comedy. She’s awesome in that she can take a serious subject and bring attention to it through something like comedy. When asked in the Makingof what inspired her, she said her family, but it was also her role in Children’s Hospital (satire on medical dramas). She describes Children’s Hospital as “a comedy camp.” Aside from Worst Enemy, Lake Bell has another film featuring in Sundance in 2013, it’s called In a World… According to LA Times, this film will be about a father daughter competition. Both father and daughter share the profession of being voice-over actors, yet the daughter lacks support from her father. When asked why she made a film like this Lake Bell said “I’ve seen a lot of father-and-son competition, and I liked the fresh idea of giving the competition to the daughter.” These fresh ideas are definitely going in the direction bell hooks and other film theorist want. Lake Bell gives a shout out to empowering women in LA Times saying, “I like the idea of my two little sisters feeling proud and empowered.” This shows she wants to do work that allow her little sister and other young women to feel empower, and to feel they can/do have potential to compete with their father. They can go head to head with a man, that’s the empowerment in her work as a filmmaker.
Bell’s film Worst Enemy mocks women that feel insecure and ask questions like “does this make me fat?” Elle says, “The story is best summed up as one woman’s journey in Spanx and is a hilarious metaphor for the literal entrapment women face in pursuing beauty.” In other words, it’s about female insecurity and how we wear uncomfortable things, like wearing a Spanx to please ourselves with the ‘ideal’ beauty. I think Lake Bells approach with the short is to show how silly we females can be sometimes. It shows how obsessive females can get with looks and “beauty.” In her interview with Moviefone, Lake Bell explains that the character Wooly is a mockery of herself and her friends.
In her interviews, Lake Bell explains that she came up with Worst Enemy a while ago. She explains that she would write things and create scripts and then put them on the side. Then one day, she decided to come up with the character Wooly and elaborate on her personality and her neurosis on self-image (reflecting herself and her friends). In the Elle interview Bell also states that she likes to create characters that are dynamic and multi-dimensional. I take this to mean that she wants her characters to be real, not the girl-next-door, not Smurfette, but someone with personality and strife, someone that takes action (a real girl, and how girls should be portrayed). She also states that she originally wanted to do a longer feature film, but she was not sure of herself yet, so she decided to do Worst Enemy, as a way to add something to her resume, but also to prove to herself that she can be a director.
With Worst Enemy, Lake Bell has received a Tony Lox award for Screenwriting (Best Short). According to Wikipedia, LUNAFEST names her one of the “2012 Inspiring Filmmakers.” Overall, Lake Bell has received good reviews, but I was not able to find in-depth reviews. The only in depth reviews, were two bad ones, and it was from chicagoreader.com, which said that the jokes in Worst Enemy were very repetitive and the work was lazy, the writer also stated that he felt that Lake Bell “relies on her actors for the movie’s humor and charm, hoping that nuances of setting, character and plot will simply fall into place.” The second review, pretty much said the same thing. I personally haven’t seen the film, therefore I cannot judge it, but I really like the message Lake Bell tries to purvey, it’s a step in the right direction.
I like that Lake Bell does not blame anyone for the insecurities, instead she tries to show, everyone how silly we are and brings awareness, to what the “ideal beauty” has brought us down to. In the interview that Lake Bell has with Elle she says that the female insecurities are the cause of images/advertisements, but it is also the cause of the females themselves. They are the ones being hard on themselves. She says this about herself too, so she is not pinpointing at one person or thing but all of us humans in general, that’s deep and we need more creators like that. Even though she received some bad reviews, I think we can’t be hard on her, she’s new with directing and at least she has the right mindset and she’s sending out the right messages. I believe with more practice she will be better and we need more daring people like her to show case their ideas.