Ootastic: PCOS in pictures

August 26, 2014

30 Film Females: Black Swan (2010)

Filed under: 30 Film Females — ootastic @ 3:03 pm

I first saw the psychological thriller Black Swan on a rare girl’s night out at the Cambridge Picturehouse and remember giggling to myself at how entertainingly bonkers it was (in my opinion, a compliment which can be applied to many films by director Darren Aronofsky).  Natalie Portman gives a dedicated, Oscar-winning performance as fragile, workaholic ballerina Nina, with a charming Mila Kunis as her dance rival and Barbara Hershey as her suffocating mother.  Ballet was one of the many hobbies I was indulged in as a child but showed little aptitude for.  But with my anxious tendencies I can empathise with Nina’s quest for perfection.

I’m not sure where the idea for this simplification of a black swan originated, possibly a Pictish bird pendant by husband bought at Inverness Museum.  I also remember watching the Simon Pegg film The World’s End around the time of drawing, with it’s multitude of illustrated pub signs.  BTW, who is the female equivalent of Simon Pegg (Jessica Hynes?) and why they haven’t they made more films?  I also wanted the swan to have a big beady eye reminiscent of the Eastenders trailer for the Lucy Beale murder storyline.

Honourable mentions for 2010: Carey Mulligan as the sympathetic Kathy H in the screen adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s book Never Let Me Go.  Also, Chloe Grace Moretz as the sweary Hit Girl in Kick-Ass.


Black Swan

August 12, 2014

30 Film Females: Shirley Valentine (1989)

Filed under: 30 Film Females — ootastic @ 2:30 pm

“Roses are red / Violets are blue / Richard Gere’s taken / So you’ll have to do” is the kind of thing I can imagine disillusioned Liverpudlian housewife Shirley Valentine saying.  Based on the one-woman play by Willy Russell, the film features Pauline Collins  – ably supported by friend Alison Steadman (AKA Mrs Bennett, Pamelaaa, etc.), neighbour Julie McKenzie (AKA Miss Marple, HRH in the 2012 Olympic helicopter!) and rediscovered schoolmate Joanna Lumley (AKA Purdy, Patsy, etc.) – as the eponymous forty-something who goes on a life-transforming holiday.  Russell also wrote Julie Walters’ breakout play-turned-film Educating Rita and the hit musical Blood Brothers (set not far from where I grew up in Lancashire), showing an flair for characterising strong Northern women.  I can’t remember when I first saw any of these productions, but it was likely at the behest of my late mum (a Yorkshire lass).

“I think sex is like supermarkets, you know, overrated. Just a lot of pushing and shoving and you still come out with very little at the end.”  This is a quote I (and I’m sure others struggling with fertility issues) can empathise with around unspontaneous potentially baby-making “timetabled sex”.  Now I’m lucky enough to have my toddler, I agree with the supermarket part even more – one-handedly pushing a screaming child around a shop should be an Olympic event!  Though I have to admit to being a loyal customer at Waitrose (the only big supermarket within walking distance of my house), so at least the pushing and shoving is mostly polite 😉

This leads me onto disappointing eggs.  In the film, Shirley’s husband (an irascible Bernard Hill) is aghast to find a dinner of “chips and egg” rather than his normal Thursday steak, which has been fed to the neighbour’s allegedly vegetarian dog.  Again, I can imagine a similar sentiment might resound with fertility patients – especially those undergoing ovarian stimulation and egg collection for IVF (thankfully, I never needed to go that far).   This gave me the idea for the drawing below, a somewhat childish representation of a meal/frowning face coloured in crayon – though the downturned mouth is formed with a sausage rather than a chip, and coloured red as opposed to a more scatological brown (not only because couldn’t find where my son had hidden the crayon).

Honourable mentions for 1989: a mature yet feisty Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy.  Secondly, Amanda Root voicing orphan Sophie in the Cosgrove Hall adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG – and also not forgetting Quentin Blake’s original artwork.


August 4, 2014

30 Film Females: Dirty Dancing (1987)

Filed under: 30 Film Females — ootastic @ 3:38 pm

When I was growing up, I was the quiet and not-so-pretty one (still am!).  The romantic drama Dirty Dancing is a film I remember watching on video numerous times with my then best friend (who I can’t find on social media) and identifying with the character of Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, played (and danced) with gusto by Jennifer Grey.  Plus the music rocks!  My friend and I must have been aware of (illicit) sex and (illegal) abortion at the time, but were more interested in the dancing and romance.  The film’s long-lasting influence (“Nobody puts Baby in the corner”) pays testament to the strong, sympathetic acting (RIP Patrick Swayze) and the universality of the coming-of-age plot.

I now can’t think of Dirty Dancing without getting an earworm of the cleaning song from the BBC kids TV series “Big Cook, Little Cook”.  I plan on teaching this to my toddler to encourage some help around the house 😉  I’ve got some more drawings in the pipeline, but I’m on a go slow due to the summer heat/holiday season.

Honourable mentions for 1987: Holly Hunter as a desperate baby-napper in the Coen brothers’ black comedy Raising Arizona. Also, Glenn Close as the “bunny-boiling” obsessive mistress in Fatal Attraction.  Both are flawed, but strong and interesting characters.


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