NYU’s Fusion Film Festival showed The Runaways this week, and Joan Jett attended and answered questions after the screening. No one knew she was going to be there.
The Runaways is the perfect fit for the Fusion Film Festival, a movie about strong women written and directed by a woman, Floria Sigismondi. It’s a great tale of girl power and rock and roll; set in 1975, it’s pretty much an Almost Famous for girls. Kristen Stewart plays Joan Jett, a shy badass who starts the first big all-girl rock band.
Read the rest HERE. I hope someone publishes a transcript or, better yet, a video!
I only care about the Q&A. The review is lackluster, to use the reviewer’s word, and this quote irritates me:
The acting is lackluster, but as a female filmmaker, it’s nice to see an empowering tale of strong women succeeding in a male dominated profession. That said, I do wish we could see a story of strong females without them having to be bisexual or lesbian. While Joan and Cherie did have a relationship in real life, it would be nice for filmmakers to show that women can be strong and independent without relying on the tired crutch of the badass lesbian character to garner attention for their films.
UM… It happened. It wasn’t something they made up to “get attention for the film”. It sounds like the reviewer thinks the movie would send a stronger message if these details had been left out. Why? I am married to a man, and I fail to see how the depiction of lesbian and bisexual characters in film threatens the perceived strength of straight women. If you need reassurance, go rent What’s Love Got to Do With It.
End of rant.
The only reason I brought up the whole lesbian thing was because I was unfamiliar with the complete backstory of Jett. During the movie, I was so happy to see such a strong female lead, but as soon as it broke away to this trippy, slightly experimental section of Cherie and Joan, I felt like the filmmakers were just explaining she was strong because she was gay. It was really a personal irritation of something that keeps popping up in film school. I feel that most filmmakers believe that most female characters, if they are going to be strong, have to be lesbian. Again, that might just be in film school. Please prove me wrong.
But you knew this movie wasn’t a fictitious Disney flick about a band that never existed, right? You knew The Runaways were real? Joan Jett is strong for no other reason than she had the courage to follow her dreams. The circumstances of her life are hers and no one else’s. I don’t have to define my existence based on what she did. No one does. I think filmmakers who make films about people’s lives need to remember that. I’ve loved Joan for 22 years, but I’ve never felt the need to start a band. Do you think her fans are all in garages starting rock bands? We are lawyers, doctors, mothers, fathers, accountants, scientists, bloggers, gay, straight, transgendered, and a whole host of things you can’t conceive of. She inspires us to be more, to be better, and to be alive.
Thank you for starting this discussion, by the way. I wish you the best of luck in film school, and whatever else you dream of. And THANK YOU for not spoiling anything about the movie in your review.
i knew they were real, i just was not fully aware of the backstory, which i am actually glad of, since i was able to find out the story as the movie went on.
It was great to see even years after she was at the peak of career, she could still inspire people. even those in the audience who were unfamiliar with her life story seemed motivated by her actions and words. i appreciated how she could be so influential without any sign of ego or pretense. in all honesty, she blew me away.
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Strength, originality & success have nothing to do with sexuality or sexual orientation. Ambition is not an exclusive trait to lesbians and bisexuals, either in real life or in film. The particular scene between Joan & Cherie is the film simply because IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. It was in no way the directors attempt to explain Joan’s strength as being a result of her homosexuality. Floria Sigismondi herself is strong, original, successful and as far as I know, straight. Can anyone sane actually envision Floria spinning her wheels, trying to think of a explanation for the force that is Joan Jett and somehow coming to the conclusion “well she’s strong, so it must be because she’s gay”. It’s laughable! Correct me if I’m wrong, but Joan has never before felt the need to explain her personal sexual preferences to her fans. Why??? Because it doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with her talent or her public persona. The bottom line is that Joan Jett is an empowering role model, regardless of who shares her bed!
i guess my issue was on how it was filmed. it felt their main lesbian scene was trying to be experimental and edgy, with strong colored lights and whirling camera movement. i would have rather seen it filmed in a way that made their relationship less dramatic, less “omg they’re young lesbians in a band!” but I understand its a movie, and they need to raise the stakes.
what was so impressive was seeing Joan in real life, and how she did not make her sexuality a big deal. i found that more empowering than the movie.
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