You’ll never know how much I can’t stand opening pinterest and finding picture upon picture of Monroe and Hepburn. Both seem to have this bizarre following, and I wonder if people actually know why they like them. Marilyn Monroe was pretty, but was a man-made actress who sadly had her wit overtaken by Hollywood. And stop telling me how she was a size 12, firstly because vintage sizes are not the same [she weighed around 118 lbs, that’s tiny] and secondly you are idolizing this woman because of her WEIGHT. Which is exactly what you are trying to fight against by saying “See, she was a size so and so”. And Audrey Hepburn. She was an awful actress who starred in awful films. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is SHIT you guys. It’s a terrible piece of film. Her acting didn’t make it more bearable. Rant over.
You may be upset at me for harping on them. I’ll tell you I don’t hate them, nor do I want to put them down for their acting. However I do wish that other truly talented women would get as much recognition as they would, not for their beauty, but for their accomplishments, passion, and positive female influence. So without further ado, here is the list:
Isabelle Huppert. Possibly the most passionate actress I have seen- I can’t think of a bad film starring Issy. If you think a cheesy love story is a ‘positive influence’, you need to check yourself. How about a role model who pushes the boundaries of what it is to be deemed acceptable as a woman in an oppressive society? I’ll take that over ballgowns any day. See Isabelle in ‘The Piano Teacher’ by Michael Haneke.
Claudia Cardinale. This woman has appeared in many important Italian [and non-Italian] films since 1960. She presents herself with an air of femme fatale while maintaining her presence as an independent woman [because femme fatales still revolve around the male, of course]. Outside of acting, she has supported feminist causes as well as gay rights, and continues to be a unesco ambassador for women’s rights. See her in ‘Ill Gattopardo’ by Visconti, or one of my favorite films, ‘Fitzcarraldo’ by Werner Herzog.
Monica Vitti. Possibly the most talented actress I’ve seen yet. Her range of emotion can change so quickly and so genuinely that you’ll be on edge just looking at her. When you mix that with Antonioni’s silent, long shots, you get a massively tense and neurotic film masterpiece. Watch Vitti in ‘Red Desert’ by Michelangelo Antonioni.
Brigitte Bardot. Don’t let the sex kitten exterior fool you- though she often plays the ermm…..plaything in her starring roles, she breaks the mold of the so called slut. She is unwilling to accept this as a title and she flaunts her sexuality proudly and openly as all women should. She was an icon of the 60’s sexual liberation movement, and a fantastic actress to boot. See Bardot in ‘Contempt’ by Jean-Luc Godard.
Anna Magnani. Boy, whatta woman. Her presence is a force to be reckoned with, and she WILL be the star of any film she cameos in. Rightly so, as her acting style is unmatchable. Within her character [no specific character, Magnani is Magnani] is a mother figure, a sexually liberated woman, a leader, and a woman completely independent of men AND other woman. She is statuesque in both form and personality, a true beacon in the fog. Watch Magnani in ‘Mamma Roma’ by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Chantal Akerman. Known as a director, though she sits on both sides of the camera. She stars in her own films, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. In fact, watching Akerman is part of what turned me to question who I am as a woman, and what I define myself by; in her films, a woman is defined by herself and only herself. If only everyone else saw it that way. Watch Akerman direct herself in ‘Je, Tu, Il, Elle’.