When nudity restrictions abated in major motion pictures, so did the quality of screen roles for women. With the Internet satisfying more primal visual desires, however, perhaps there is finally a way back to the sorts of characters played by Davis, Hepburn and Taylor.
I made Violet & Daisy, in part, because I wanted to see a film featuring women who are hip, skilled, funny, fragile and ferocious. You might not want to meet them during their business hours, but you would probably love them as friends. I also thought that it would be interesting to see a film where young ladies dispatched their adversaries while developing a moral compass and did so without being objectified. Violet & Daisy includes violence, but that which is relatively spare, never random and ultimately condemned. This violence plays a lesser role to the fable's primary themes of friendship, materialism, love and redemption.
The timeless stories from Homer, Shakespeare and Tolkien to the Wizard of Oz, The Empire Strikes Back and beyond use violence as a means for us to examine the heights and recesses of our nature in order to inspire the best in us. One of the most remarkable things about Martin Scorsese's underworld stories is how they are so thrilling and alive, yet they leave you feeling grateful that you didn't live them. You can craft a compelling story about almost any behavior in this world as long as you address the consequences in a manner that is humanist and complete. A more perilous option is to pretend that certain people, places or impulses don't exist at all.
It may be difficult for some to believe that "Big Art" used to consistently push many boundaries. "I Am The Walrus," "Helter Skelter" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" may sound nice now, but imagine how they sounded at first listen. Assuming they would get released today, these masterpieces might seem more subversive than ever.
In what feels like a long time ago in galaxy far, far away, the most successful independent filmmaker of all time got an epic made that featured dirty spaceships, a giant dog and some weird religion. In many respects, it is wildly Avant-garde. Kudos to a studio president who green lighted and then protected something that no one had ever seen before throughout a problematic shoot.
Currently, it feels as if we're constricting the boundaries of mainstream art instead of pushing them. In a risk-averse environment where many people fear for their jobs, "nothing ventured, nothing lost" is the prevailing sentiment but it is also a recipe for mediocrity at best.
Don't get me wrong. I do realize that this is show business, but the art of The Beatles will sell forever. Motown's will too. Perhaps Pixar is Motown's modern equivalent -- a hit factory whose most daring and well-crafted works push boundaries and reach audiences.