Ootastic: PCOS in pictures

July 27, 2014

30 Film Females: Fargo (1996)

Filed under: 30 Film Females — ootastic @ 11:17 am

It’s hard enough getting up off the sofa when seven months pregnant, let alone traipsing around snowy Minnesota in search of some fun-loving, “funny-lookin” criminals.  So all the more credit to Fargo‘s amiable-yet-steely police chief Marge Gunderson, gamely played by Frances McDormand in Oscar-winning form: “OK, so we got a trooper pulls someone over, we got a shooting, these folks drive by, there’s a high-speed pursuit, ends here and then this execution-type deal.”  The film is also famous for recreating the sing-song accent and Minnesota-nice behaviour typical to the region.

By my count, there are seven murders throughout the film (though a recent recount gives me six, as Gaear is arrested at the end).  Incidentally, this tally is dwarfed by one particular scene in the recent TV series starring Martin Freeman on Channel 4).  I’ve always been intrigued by US population signs – they’re usually based on recent census statistics, but I thought it would be amusing to show one that had been graffitied to represent the events of the film.  I wanted to show repeated crossing-outs, but couldn’t get the spacing right in my basic graphics editor.  According to this article in the Wisconsin State Journal, communities are allowed to update the signs, though I doubt Chief Gunderson would approve of such wanton hooliganism.  You betcha!

Honourable mentions for 1996: both dysfunctional mother Brenda Blethyn and abandoned daughter Marianne Jean-Baptiste in Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies. Also Juliette Binoche as the sympathetic WW2 nurse in Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient.



July 17, 2014

30 Film Females: Transamerica (2005)

Filed under: 30 Film Females — ootastic @ 11:24 am

One question I’ve been pondering is should this blog series deal with female characters or characters played by females?  Why exclude, for example, Cate Blanchett as an intriguing incarnation of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There or Brad Bird voicing the eccentric Edna Mode in The Incredibles?  Incidentally, now I have an energetic toddler I’m growing to understand the stretchy Mrs Incredible and her speedy son Dash.

I’ve just realised that in a previous (10 Things I Hate About You) I gave an honourable mention to actress (is this term politically correct?) Hilary Swank’s portrayal of the real-life female-to-male (F2M) Teena Brandon in Boys Don’t Cry.  To attempt to redress the balance I’d like to point you at Terence Stamp’s recently bereaved male-to-female (F2M) Bernadette in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  I’m sure friends will point out any lapses in terminology I may have just made.

Having said all that, I’d now like to focus on Felicity Huffman as a pre-operative M2F Bree in Transamerica: “My body may be a work-in-progress, but there is nothing wrong with my soul”.  I think most of us can empathise with this to some extent.  In this unshowy, unconventional road trip movie, Bree reluctantly rides to the rescue of her wayward estranged son.  Could a trans actor have played the role as well?  Maybe.  Did the film need a “star” in order to get made?  Probably.  And she did a great job.

The image for this film didn’t take too much thinking about – the two halves of the film’s dual title represented by the Star Spangled Banner superimposed onto the symbolic letter.  The drawing may be slightly dishevelled, but it could be argued that the same goes for the country.

Honourable mentions for 2005: Rachel Weiss’ doomed diplomatic wife in the adaptation of John Le Carre’s book The Constant Gardener, which I’ve re-watched/read recently and still think features one of the most realistic cinematic sex scenes.  Also, Naomi Watts facing off a giant, hairy monster (not Peter Jackson!) in King Kong.




July 10, 2014

30 Film Females: We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

Filed under: 30 Film Females — ootastic @ 10:33 am

If you haven’t see We Need To Talk About Kevin, based on the award-winning book by Lionel Shriver, then I won’t spoil it for you.  Needless to say, Tilda Swinton’s first-time mom has to put up with more than most.  Her performance will resound with anyone who has worried about being a bad parent or having a troublesome child: “You don’t look happy”…”Have I ever?  Inexplicably, I first watched this film several hours after my 20 week scan.

The classic image of Cupid’s arrow piercing a lovestruck heart is a cliche of Valentine’s Day.  But perhaps it can also represent being heartbroken for less romantic reasons.  I only had a ballpoint in red, but think it gives it the picture a visceral look, like looking down at a histological slide down a microscope (I have a degree in human anatomy).

Honourable mentions for 2011: Saoirse Ronan’s naive teenage assassin experiencing the world for the first time in Hanna.  Also, Meryl Streep as volatile but vulnerable former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.



July 3, 2014

30 Film Females: Juno (2007)

Filed under: 30 Film Females — ootastic @ 10:38 am

Juno is one of those films – like Knocked Up and Waitress – that were released during my early thirties when I was trying but failing to get pregnant (regular readers may know I now have a 1 year old son).  However, I was won over by the title character’s determination and witty dialogue, as portrayed by the impish Ellen Page and written by the Oscar-winning Diablo Cody.

So, onto the drawing.  In a sleep-deprived fug, I initially mistook the Roman goddess Juno for the two-faced god Janus.  However, I realised that this could represent a typically inward-looking teenager, or even perhaps an expectant mother communing with her foetus.  Also, Ellen Page has a distinctive profile which hopefully works with the the simple black and white graphic.  And not forgetting the ornamental urn belonging to Juno’s step-mom (Allison Janney again) into which some blue slushie is regurgitated!  I originally drew the whole image but will flipped one half after scanning to make it symmetrical.  I realise I’ve just written about two teen movies in a row (even if they may not get published in that order), so now feel it’s time to go old school.

Honourable mentions for 2007: Helena Bonham-Carter singing her socks off as the pie-maker Mrs Lovett off in Sweeney Todd.  Rose Byrne and Michelle Yeoh as rare female movie scientists on a space mission in Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.



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