Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kathryn Bigelow: The NYC Years

You may have heard of the movie director Kathryn Bigelow -- the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar (for 2009's Iraq war film The Hurt Locker).

Ms. Bigelow is much in the news today for her current hit Zero Dark Thirty, about the 2011 killing of Osama Bin Laden. This film has generated a lot of controversy since it depicts the use of torture which, according to those who helped find the world's worst terrorist, was never used. Zero Dark Thirty claims to be, oddly enough, a journalistic take on this historic operation but also "just a movie" which supposedly allows it some creative license. The debate rages on.

And if this article really is accurate (hopefully no creative license was used), Ms. Bigelow has always been very creative.

Sure, she's been making movies for a long time (Point Break, Strange Days, etc.) but the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar in history got her start as an artist in NYC in the 1970s. She was part of the last great generation of Manhattan-based artists that spawned giants like Cindy Sherman and Julian Schnabel (also a movie director). Not only was she part of "the scene", creating avant-garde art and going to shows, but she was also part of a the emerging world of cinema studies, even writing for obscure movie journals. 

Before she conquered American cinema, she learned a thing or two in the NYC art-world. 

Seeing Kathryn Bigelow's big, glossy, action-packed movies today, it's great to think that she really got her start right here in the downtown art scene.

As the late Mayor Ed Koch said, NYC is where the future comes to rehearse. And in Kathryn Bigelow's case, that is most definitely true.

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