Saturday, April 24, 2010

Post #5: Female Film Director

In “Author/Auteur: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film,” it is discussed that in film, the director holds the title of the creator regardless of how much societal influence define the film and its content. It compares the director’s camera to the author’s pen or in a patriarchal society: a man’s penis. To be an auteur is to hold the power of creation—to be a female auteur in a patriarchal society is to have the power to address all the unfairness women suffer.
In the 21st century, where American women have had progress, female auteurs surface in many forms of media. In 2008, a female auteur, Kinga Burza took the position to direct a video for a controversial song by Katy Perry. As a music video director, Burza has worked with many artists including La Roux, Kate Nash and The Teenagers; pleasing her U.K. and Australian audience. Working with Katy Perry would be her first time as a female auteur in the United States. Although that may be, her music video for “I Kissed a Girl” turned out number one in U.S. charts and has
“received the most number of plays of any video across MTV channels globally in 2008” according to Her success for “I Kissed a Girl” led her for five nominations at the MTV VMA Awards—not bad considering it was Burza’s first production in the American market.
Since the song “I Kissed a Girl” came to her with controversial lyrics, further utilization of girl on girl imagery she thought was the worst way to go: "I didn't actually want to see girls kissing, that would have been far too obvious," said Burza. Her goal was not to make a very hot music video—instead she saw it as an opportunity to show off Katy’s charisma. Her approach was to show a lot of Katy performing her song in an environment surrounded by sexy girls. She intended it to be suggestive and devious by using sexy silhouettes and body shapes.

In terms of being an auteur, it seems Burza has tackled “I Kissed a Girl” somewhat responsibly. She knew Katy and her song was going to be a big hit among a wide age group and so she was careful not cause an infatuation to those female teens who looked up to Katy Perry with each other. In other words, she did not want female teens to be kissing other female teens just because they saw Katy doing it on her video. The fact that she did not write the lyrics to this video made her role as an auteur more engaging. Being an auteur means to take credit not only for the screenplay in films but beyond that—through the images and sounds as well. Since Burza did not write the words we hear and how we hear it, imagery became her domain. She focused on the key element of auteurism which is camera-stylo: to wield the camera like a writer would his pen. The imagery for the music video solely relied on Burza’s personality and creativity. Her personality was expressed through her strict color palette and her love for “femininity, fun, nostalgia and fantasy.” Again, this is also evident in her abandoning the obvious choice of depicting Katy kissing a girl. Instead she set a goal to maintain the essence of the song and its words, through suggestive content like body shapes and silhouettes while at the same time expressing her views and opinion of Katy Perry: that because she is a rising star, the world needed to personally get to know her more; and Katy’s charisma seemed to have done enough inspiring Burza to highlight and dedicate the video to it: “She's fresh, original, intelligent and talented, with a star-like charisma, which will have boys and girls all around the world cooing for more!” said Burza on an MTV interview.
Critics of the video “I Kissed a Girl” were opinionated from both sides of the spectrum. Some disagreed with Burza’s approach: “It is a shame that the song has a catchy tune and a contemporary idea that couldn't be fully utilized due to bad direction, casting, and possibly the motivation for Katy Perry.” It seems as though they wanted a literal depiction of the song lyrics in order to be pleased with it. Others thought it was too sexy: that “the song’s visual content serves almost as a soft-porn teaser [which] is sure to be a draw for sexually curious young male viewers.” Regardless of these opinions, the video turn out did well. After premiering on it racked up more than two million views in the course of two weeks.

Works Cited

It's time for women to call the music video shots:

Kinga Burza's Biography:

Definition of Camera-stylo:

3(D) Review - I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry:

Katy Perry I Kissed a Girl Music Video Review:

Katy Perry's VMA-Nominated 'I Kissed A Girl' Clip Tries Not To Be Too Sexy:

Introducing...King Burza: the future of MTV:

Katy Perry: I Kissed A Girl:$1233423.htm

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