Monthly Archives: September 2021

Searching for Debra Winger

I randomly saw this DVD somewhere and it peaked my interest immediately. It’s a documentary by Rosanna Arquette, with many A-List actresses on the cover. She created it herself while raising her child and being an actress. She filmed it herself mostly with digital video cameras of the era. She really got a
who’s who of famous actresses to appear and speak candidly about the sexist state of the
film industry. Featuring candid interviews with:
Patricia Arquette, Emmanuel Beart, Laura Dern, Teri Garr, Whoopi Goldberg,
Melanie Griffith, Darly Hannah, Salma Hayek, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Kelly Lynch,
Frances McDormand, Vanessa Regrave and more!

It’s pretty amazing, she made it while she was raising her child and struggled with
continuing to act and being a mother at the same time. She referenced the Red Shoes, which I need to watch, but in that film a woman has to choose her destiny to be a dancer or a wife. Rosanna shot this herself mostly,
on digital video of the era, it looks good though. The film starts with the difficulties
faced by women in that regard and then explores the bias in Hollywood towards woman actors
as they age. Hence the title, Debra Winger took a break from acting in the 90s despite being
a top Hollywood actress at the time. Spoiler alert, Rosanna finds her in the end and she explains why, kind of. Kids and being an active mother definitely helped her decide.

I believe it’s mentioned that films like Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore aren’t made anymore.
I recently saw A Woman Under The Influence and wow was Gena amazing, but that was an independent film.
Hollywood still doesn’t make many films starring an older woman, This has changed a bit in 20 years,
but only for Oscar winners essentially.
When a actress reaches a certain age she is dead to the industry. The term used in the film
and today still is “fuckable”. If a female actor is not fuckable,
she will not get the role. Not fuckable = not gonna get the part, even as the “nerd friend” or further supporting role. It’s a pretty good look at how
awful and sexist the entire industry is. Also it is run entirely by men who lacked control early in their
lives. For instance studio heads were likely quite nerdy losers in High School and will never escape this. Now they have power and take advantage. This also plugs deep into the male sex driven ego. This documentary is especially important in the current “MeToo” era we live in, things are changing for the better, but slowly.

This film was released in 2002, some things have happened since but it is all still 100% going on.
There is still hardly any films starring a 40 something year old single woman. Once an actress has “peaked” physically she no longer gets sent scripts. I highly recommend this film, it’s worth seeking out. Rosanna did a very important thing and got actresses to speak out about these things. It must have been hard for all involved, she should make a modern sequel! But regardless I highly recommend this!