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Kathryn Bigelow @ 60

Also: The latest on her upcoming Bin Laden project.
The DailyKathryn Bigelow

Verena Lueken celebrates Kathryn Bigelow's 60th birthday today with a well-earned salute in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Steve Dollar, earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal: "She gave us hemophiliac splatter and star-crossed Texas-biker vampire love in Near Dark — 20 years before bloodsuckers became the pop-culture vogue and star Bill Paxton was a household name. She came up with the most iconic use of a Richard Nixon mask in movie history in Point Break. And she was the first woman to win the Academy Award for best director in 2010, with the high-tension Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker." And he reminded us, too, that she made her earliest films as a "San Francisco Art Institute graduate enrolled in the graduate film program at Columbia University, where she studied with such luminaries as Susan Sontag and avant-garde video artist Vito Acconci."

At around the same time, Justin Stewart wrote in the L that The Hurt Locker "was her first [film] since 2002's K-19: The Widowmaker, and its reportorial, shaky roughness marked a shift from the unique, romantically lush style she refined in films like Blue Steel and Point Break. But the concerns were similar, and close viewing revealed that The Hurt Locker's superficially 'vérité' camerawork and editing were just as, and in some ways more, meticulous — playing with ideas of perspective and how it defines different personalities — as that in her great 80s and 90s films. (An excellent L Magazine video essay explicates The Hurt Locker's visual strategy and relation to previous Bigelow films.)"

"Real discussions about sexual politics don't usually enter the equation during the interminable Oscar 'season,' which is why her nomination was almost as important as her double win," wrote Manohla Dargis in the New York Times back in March 2010. "Her cool has disturbed some, who have scrutinized Ms Bigelow up and down, sometimes taking suspicious measure of her height and willowy frame, partly because these are the only personal parts of her that are accessible to nosy interviewers. Women in movies, both in front of and behind the camera, are expected to offer a lot more of themselves, from skin to confessions. All that Ms Bigelow freely gives of herself for public consumption is intelligent conversation and her work. Her insistence on keeping the focus on her movies is a quiet yet profound form of rebellion. She might be a female director, but by refusing to accept that gendered designation — or even engage with it — she is asserting her right to be simply a director."

Earlier this month, the Playlist's Kevin Jagernauth reported that Bigelow's "untitled Bin Laden movie aka Kill Bin Laden, has now been slated with a December 19, 2012 release. Initially pegged to get an early start with a October 12, 2012 slot, the movie was pushed back last month. Whether it was to avoid claims of partisanship by releasing a such a politically charged movie just weeks before the next election or simply the fact that the movie has not even cast up yet or started production (or both), wasn't made clear, but there shouldn't be any doubt that the film will be a big player next fall."

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Dargis’ bit is what I have noticed, myself: Bigelow is all about her work, little more. To me, that’s refreshing in an age where just about everyone in Hollywood seems to be into the “self-deprecating” stuff that is supposed to make the Golden Globes and the Oscars “entertaining”. Not that say that self-deprecation can’t be done well, but you know what they say about rebellion being absorbed into the status quo…

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