Monday, November 22, 2010
Beauty or Brains? Both?
The New York Times Arts and Leisure section yesterday provided a fascinating juxtaposition in femininity. Three movies, all centered on female figures, provide insight into the polarization of female identity. Acerbic New Yorker Fran Lebowitz, known for her scathing sarcasm, is featured in a new documentary "Public Speaking" directed by Martin Scorsese, armed with little more than her wit. Not unlike Louis Malle's "My Dinner with Andre," Lebowitz is filmed chatting at her regular table at the Waverly Inn. A modern-day Dorothy Parker, Lebowitz's writing in general is brainy, opinionated, and quick, moving from topic to topic with ease, so the format of filmed conversation should prove to be equally erudite. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Cher, four years Lebowitz's senior, whose new movie "Burlesque," showcases the singer/actress in fishnets and sequins. After countless plastic surgeries, Cher's unwrinkled face is evidence of a relentless desire to fight the natural aging process, hoping to retain beauty at any cost. Upon reading interviews with both women, however, it is Lebowitz who seems energized, not Cher.
To balance out the question, another Disney princess is on the horizon-- flying in on her tangle of hair with her prince. Will this version of Rapunzel offer a new vision of femininity-- one that marries beauty and brains? If so, it's about time.