Sarah Polley: The Men You Meet Making Movies

He told me, in front of the publicist and a co-worker beside him, that a famous star, a few years my senior, had once sat across from him in the chair I was in now. Because of his “very close relationship” with this actress, she had gone on to play leading roles and win awards. If he and I had that kind of “close relationship,” I could have a similar career. “That’s how it works,” I remember him telling me. The implication wasn’t subtle. I replied that I wasn’t very ambitious or interested in acting, which was true. He then asked me about my political activism and went on to recast himself as a left-wing activist, which was among the funniest things I’d ever heard.

.. Women in technical jobs were almost nonexistent, and when they were there, they were constantly being tested to see if they really knew what they were doing.

.. the photo shoots in which you were treated like a model with no other function than to sell your sexuality, regardless of the nature of the film you were promoting.

.. How would one have left that meeting, or those hotel rooms, which have been described by others, with that relationship intact, when he displayed such entitlement and was famous for such anger? I was purely lucky that I didn’t care.

.. Shortly afterward, I started writing and directing short films. I had no idea, until then, how little respect I had been shown as an actor. Now there were no assistant directors trying to cajole me into sitting on their laps, no groups of men standing around to assess how I looked in a particular piece of clothing. I could decide what I felt was important to say, how to film a woman, without her sexuality being a central focus without context. In my mid-20s, I made my first feature film, “Away From Her.”

.. Most directors are insensitive men. And while I’ve met quite a few humane, kind, sensitive male directors and producers in my life, sadly they are the exception and not the rule. This industry doesn’t tend to attract the most gentle and principled among us.
.. I went into a film as an actor with an open heart and was humiliated, violated, dismissed and then, in one instance, called overly sensitive when I complained. One producer, when I mentioned I didn’t feel a rape scene was being handled sensitively, barked that Dakota Fanning had done a rape scene when she was 12 — “And she’s fine!”
.. for a long time, I felt that it wasn’t worth it to me to open my heart and make myself so vulnerable in an industry that makes its disdain for women evident everywhere I turn.
.. he was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry
.. I hope that when this moment of noisy sisterhood dissipates, it doesn’t end with a woman in a courtroom, being made to look crazy, as these stories so often do.
.. I hope that the ways in which women are degraded, both obvious and subtle, begin to seem like a thing of the past.

We need to look at ourselves.

  • What have we been willing to accept, out of fear, helplessness, a sense that things can’t be changed?
  • What else are we turning a blind eye to, in all aspects of our lives?
  • What else have we accepted that, somewhere within us, we know is deeply unacceptable?

And what now will we do about it?


Comedy Central’s Larry Wilmore was one of the chief offenders, launching one of his shows with an eight-minute festival of mockery that accepted the North Korean regime’s version of events, mocked Warmbier’s anguished tears, and even posted a graphic calling him an “ass” — based on the initials of a fictional fraternity. The message? Let’s mock frat bros when they go where Daddy can’t protect them. Doubt me? Watch for yourself:

.. This is mindless moral relativism on a staggering scale. For black women, the “daily reality” of life in the United States is like a North Korean labor camp? How can anyone read that statement with a straight face? If that’s true, why aren’t people streaming by the millions into Canada? Does La Sha understand what people do — what they risk — to flee North Korea? Has she not heard the stories of North Korean refugees?

.. I grew up in rural Kentucky and went to college at a conservative Evangelical college in Tennessee. So it’s a bit of an understatement to say that I had limited exposure to the Left before my days at Harvard Law School.

.. I met liberals who are even today among the people I respect the most. They have keen intellects, gracious spirits, and virtuous goals. We disagree about means and sometimes disagree about ends, but I don’t doubt their ethics, intentions, or good faith.

.. But I also encountered cruelty and sheer malice. As I’ve written before, this was the era of the shout-down. This was an era not just of protests but also of malicious retaliation. Classmates told me to “go die” because of my pro-life speech.

.. Yet in many ways Harvard embraced these hateful radicals. It gave them a home. It gave them a hearing. It gave them tenure. The most prestigious educational institution in the world was wrapping both its arms around some of the most vicious people I’d ever met

.. All too many liberals admire radicals. They envy their commitment to the cause. They’re fascinated by their arguments, by their style, and by their very presence

.. All too many liberals admire radicals. They envy their commitment to the cause. They’re fascinated by their arguments, by their style, and by their very presence

.. The liberal response to Black Lives Matter is one of the best examples of this sad phenomenon. Millions of well-meaning Americans — justifiably eager for racial reconciliation and often deceived by misleading statistics and sometimes outright lies — have elevated an organization that has dedicated itself to the disruption of the “western-prescribed” nuclear family, celebrates cop-killers, and keeps mounting protests that turn violent (and sometimes even deadly). It’s too easy to say, “This is how we get Trump.” The issues go far beyond Trump. This is how we get polarization. This is how we get cocooning. This is one way that Americans learn to hate each other.