“I rarely meet people who tell me what they’re doing.”
When I was 13 years old, I received an award from my eighth grade teacher, in which she predicted my future career as a “comedy screenwriter.” At that time, I had no idea what a screenwriter was. I, of course knew it had to do with filmmaking, but that’s it. Growing up, I had no conception of writing or directing films. It was not a career that people around me talked about or pursued. Soon, that would all change.
Director Kim Peirce and the blood-soaked poster for her new film, the Carrie remake.
Filmmaker Kimberly Peirce is a crusader. Like the protagonist of her latest film, Carrie, Hollywood has failed to bully her around. She’s kept at the business and art she loves, despite being passed her over for major projects and has carved out her own success, taking the helm of unconventional films like Boys Don’t Cry and Stop Loss. During her long career, she’s also been an outspoken voice against censorship—as best seen in This Film is not yet Rated—and, in her free time, directed an episode of The L Word.
Peirce spoke with Bitch about her history with Carrie White, the appeal of revenge stories, mother-daughter relationships, and filmmaking while female.
For many kids of the nineties, Halloween film Hocus Pocus is a favorite: there are ghosts, black cats, Bette Midler, and a whole lot of virgin jokes. What more could you want? This year is Hocus Pocus’s 20th anniversary (yes you’re that old) and I rewatched the film, wondering how the movie I loved as a kid would hold up.
Slumber Party Massacre comes off as yet another sensationalistic and gory ‘80s slasher. I picked it up recently mainly due to its ridiculous title and the fact that most of the characters were female. Upon viewing it, what shocked me was not so much the gore and violence, but the film’s clever humor, the funny characters, and most of all the incredibly veiled feminist satire.
There's a scene in the original Carrie that made me tear up the first time I saw it, at age 12 or so. It's not one of the movie's famous scare scenes—not the ones at the prom, not the pants-peeingly unexpected shock ending, not even the senseless murder of a pig—but it's one that resonated for being profoundly upsetting in an entirely different way.
Roll Jordan, roll Roll Jordan, roll I want to go to heaven when I die To hear ol' Jordan roll
A rising tide. This is the closest feeling and image I can give to describe the impact of watching Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years A Slave, based on the true narrative by Solomon Northrup, a free black man who was captured and sold into slavery in 1841. It is a tide that hits, even when you’re not ready, recedes, then comes back with a force more powerful than the last.
This tide keeps coming, and you keep anticipating it, but nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming fear and loathing that fill your body when slave owner Master Epps (Michael Fassbender) enters the frame, and Solomon’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) face falls heavy with an aquatic force.
Wadjda is the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. But while director Haifaa al-Mansour's grueling effort to make the film is certainly impressive, Wadjda doesn't rest on the accomplishment of being an international first—the film is excellent by any standard. It would be a great film even if it were the fourth film shot in Saudi Arabia or the hundredth.
What's refreshing about the film is it does not try to tell a moral story. Instead, it follows a young girl named Wadjda through her daily life, resulting in an intimate look at the kind of life that's rarely seen.
There is a wedding scene at the beginning of Andrew Dosunmu's Mother of George that exudes such richness, visual beauty, magic, and love, that I wanted to be in it. At a traditional Nigerian wedding ceremony in Brooklyn, main characters Adenike (Danai Gurira) and Ayodele (Isaach De Bankole) forge a union that's blessed by elders, Orishas and full of lively music, hennaed hands, and shimmering gold fabric.