Home Movies Dolly De Leon and Samantha Morton talk about breaking movie rules

Dolly De Leon and Samantha Morton talk about breaking movie rules

Dolly De Leon and Samantha Morton talk about breaking movie rules


As part of the Miu Miu Women’s Tales talks and screenings, Dolly De Leon, Samantha Morton and Isabel Sandoval sat down with Simran Hans to talk about what it’s like to be a woman. At the movie theater

During the Miu Miu Women’s Tales talks and screenings ahead of London Fashion Week, filmmaker Isabel Sandoval, triangle of sadness Star Dolly De Leon and English actress Samantha Morton sat down with journalist Simran Hans to discuss rule-breaking female characters, on-screen intimacy and how the film industry can better support female and minority voices.

Actors Dolly De Leon, Samantha Morton and filmmaker Isabelle Sandoval claim very different histories and filmographies. But when asked by writer Simran Hans to think of a protagonist they connected with at a young age, the three named female characters struggle to exist in male-dominated worlds.

De Leon was drawn to Jodie Foster’s early roles as rebellious tomboy Casey Brown in Candlestickwhile Morton named Crissy Rock’s single mother Maggie in Ken Loach’s 1994 drama ladybug, ladybug. Sandoval referenced Jane Fonda’s call girl Bree Daniels in the iconic neo-noir Klute, which the trans director first saw when she began to question her own gender identity. “She’s got her own agency, she’s a headstrong, smart woman, and what could have been a stock character was so complicated,” Sandoval said during a panel hosted by Miu Miu as part of her women’s tales program. “It was enlightening, awakening and challenging for me as an artist – and as a person.”

These choices speak volumes about the careers that De Leon, Morton and Sandoval carved out for themselves in the years that followed. They also reflect the mindsets they – and many other women – are being pushed to adopt in an industry still dominated and funded by men.

Read on to learn more about the speech, including the transformative power of costume and makeup, about the role on-screen intimacy plays in asserting female agency.

On costume as empowerment

When it comes to stepping into the minds and worlds of their characters, all three guests agreed on the transformative power of costume. De Leon, who has a well-honed process thanks to her theater background, can mentally feel herself becoming her character as she applies her makeup. “It prepares me to create the illusion,” she said. She considers herself lucky to have worked on productions where she was involved in the decision-making process. Shooting for the Palme d’Or triangle of sadness, she suggested that her character appear clothed while fishing, rather than naked, to align with social mores in the Philippines. During a love scene on a lifeboat, she opted to wear a bra (she saw less distraction there) and requested a closed set. “I was very lucky – nobody imposed anything on me.”

Morton stressed the importance of collaboration. She remembers playing a teenage prostitute in gold band, and arguing for costumes that reflected his character’s identity as a child. “It was the first time I wanted to have power there… If I don’t believe the clothes I’m wearing relate to the character, I’m itchy inside,” she said . Discuss his short film The actress, which she directed and starred in, Sandoval described embodying icons Isabella Rossellini, Marlene Dietrich and Malcolm McDowell in their seminal roles as a liberating experience. “For someone like me, taking on these iconic roles, putting a radical spin on them, was a fun experience for me.”

Bringing the inner life of a character to the screen

For De Leon, who gained international recognition for her role as Abigail in triangle of sadness, keeping a journal from her character’s perspective has helped her give them the respect they deserve. “I had to write her story, where she comes from, what motivates her, so that everything she does on the island is justified, and that she comes from a space of humanity”, has she declared. “There are so many overseas Filipino workers, and I didn’t want to put any of them in a bad light…I wanted her to be attractive and desirable.”

But the way an actor is filmed – from directing to camera work – can also bring a character’s story to life. Portraying female characters in quiet thought can be a radical act, Sandoval pointed out. His movie of 2019 Lingua francathat she directed and acted in, saw her revisit the films of Chantal Akerman Jeanne Dielmann And Home News, which influenced the observational tone of his film. “How radical to point the camera at a seated, reflective woman, and consider that a subject matter worthy of cinema,” she said.

Sexual intimacy as self-affirmation

Sexual desire can also be an overlooked way to assert a character’s identity: Sandoval chose not to use vague zoomed gyrations to Lingua francaof the famous sex scene, and instead pointed the camera at the protagonist’s face. “We not only see the sex scene, but we see it. At this point in the film, we saw his trauma, his fear, his anxiety,” she said. “Showing her that she wanted something…was really quite a freeing moment for me.” You see a texture, a dimensionality, a spirit that you have never witnessed before.

But it’s crucial that a sex scene has a purpose and that the actors are included in the discussions. “I need to know why – why does it matter?” said Morton, who recalls performing in intimate scenes as a teenager on male-dominated sets without an intimacy coach. At the premiere of the 2004 dystopian drama Code 46, she recalled being shocked by the addition of a close-up shot of a vagina. “A lot of times as an actor you’re the last to know anything,” she lamented. “[The Screen Actors Guild] are brilliant at protecting actors, but Equity (the union representing actors in the UK) is so behind the times.

On the state of the film industry

“It’s screwed up…the industry is in a really bad shape,” said Morton, who is struggling to finance his second feature despite the success of his 2009 BAFTA-winning drama. the unloved. “These are women’s stories, a call to arms, but people don’t come close.” Proving to financiers and distributors – who largely pander to the tastes of male audiences – that there is a demand for these stories is crucial, but not a panacea.

Like in fashion, there’s also the issue of class and bringing people from different communities onto film sets. Imposing quotas and requiring an equal number of women on film sets will make a difference, adds Morton, as will making educational efforts to provide career guidance to young talent. “Here, with very little public funding and everyone fighting for it, it’s super hard.”