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July 19, 2002 - Image 87

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-07-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Now Open Saturdays

For Theatre & Opera Goers
...or just because

As if to prove her point, the
Playboy bunnies begin anxiously
poring over their photo spreads.
Holofcener — like fellow inde-
pendent filmmakers Allison Anders
and Rebecca Miller — makes movies
antithetical to the cuddly female
bonding flicks Hollywood has cham-
pioned (think Boys on the Side).

The Mercurial Mentor

It's perhaps no accident that
Holofcener's self-deprecating come-
dies have been compared to the work
of Woody Allen. Her stepfather,-
Charles H. Joffe, produced all of
Allen's films and she virtually grew
up on his movie sets.
"I remember Woody sitting down
and reading to me, but he could also
be really glib and sarcastic," she
recalls. "Once when I was 8, I had
this big lollipop and I said, 'Look,
Woody!' — and he took it from my
hand and cracked it over my head."
The incident sounds as humiliat-
ing as the most cringe-worthy
sequence from Lovely & Amazing.
Nevertheless, it was Allen who
gave Holofcener her first movie jobs,
initially as a production assistant on

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
and later as an apprentice editor' on
Hannah and Her Sisters.
She eventually earned a graduate
film degree from Columbia
University and drew attention with
some spry short films.
Holofcener honed her 1996 debut
feature, Walking and Talking, about a
woman in crisis after her best friend
gets engaged, at a Sundance work-
The impetus, she says, was turning
30 and freaking out when her best
friend announced she was getting
married. "I was going through all
these dates from hell, and she'd
found Mr. Right and they were just
off the deep end in love, and you
know, nauseating, and I wondered if
I'd ever find anyone," she recalls.
"I was also jealous because I felt I
was losing her, so I was really imma-
ture and acted out and complained
and made things that weren't about
me, about me. It was just so much
about me losing her instead of being
thrilled for her."
Holofcener, whose debut film
starred the then-unknown actresses
Keener and Anne Heche, was mar-
ried with children by the time she
began writing Lovely & Amazing in
the late 1990s. (She's since separated
from her husband.) She says the


Director Nicole Holofcener has a
thing or two on her mind.
• About the "chick flick" genre: "If
Saving Private Ryan is a guy's
movie, Lovely & Amazing can be a
girl's movie — but I don't get too
wrapped up in labels."
• About trying to sell a "woman's
movie": "You're told the material
is 'soft' and noncommercial, but I
believe there's a huge market out
there for women's films —you
could make a fortune even if not
one single man ever saw your
• About people who've com-
plained her male characters are
one-dimensional: "To say every
character has to be front and cen-
ter is crazy. Plus there are a mil-
lion wives, mistresses and nannies
who are minor characters in films,
and nobody complains about that.
• About the status of women
directors: "There's not so few of us
anymore, so it's not so crazy. But
the people who can green-light
films are still mostly men, so we
have- a long way to go."

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150 West Congress

Since 1952

— Naomi Pfefferman

movie is an ode to her own mother,
who, like the fictional Jane, adopted
a black child after separating from
her spouse some years ago.
It's also an ode to a mother's love,
however imperfect.
"When I was going through awful
relationships and getting my heart
broken, my mother would always say
to me, 'You're lovely and amazing
and it's all his fault,"' Holofcener
says. "Which was great, but it also
drove me nuts, because I wasn't per-
fect and it wasn't always his fault."
Yet as the director finishes her
salad, dipping the last of the lettuce
into the dressing, she predicts she'll
probably do the same with her 4-
year-old twin sons. "I'm going to
constantly tell them they're fabu-
lous," she says with a smile. "And
lovely and amazing." ❑

Lovely & Amazing opens its exclu-
sive Detroit engagement Friday,
July 19, at Landmark's Main
Art Theatre in Royal Oak.
(248) 542-0180.

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