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Olivia Wilde & other poems about women filmmakers

Poem No. 1584 (“Olivia Wilde”)

I’m going to see
The new Olivia Wilde movie
I don’t give a shit
When people
Trash a movie
They have seen
Unless they have good reasons
And I care even less
When people
Trash a movie
That they haven’t seen
Because what good reasons
Could a person have
For trashing a movie
They haven’t seen
I loved Booksmart
So I will see Don’t Worry Darling
There are people
Who will destroy the career
Of a great director
Over fucking nothing
I have seen
And loved
Polanski movies
And Woody Allen movies
And there is definitely
More shit that you can say
About those two
Then you can say
About Olivia Wilde
So fuck ’em all
I will go see that movie
I may even go today
I may even go alone
I saw The Piano alone
I saw Rifkin’s Festival alone
Fuck ’em all
I will go see
Don’t Worry Darling
I may even
Go today

Poem No. 1585 (“Elaine May”)

It’s like what they did
With Elaine May
Nobody went to see Ishtar
Because of shit that people
Said about it
Before it even came out
I liked Ishtar a lot
It was the first Elaine May film I saw
And the last one she made
And I loved A New Leaf
And I liked Mikey and Nicky
And I still haven’t seen
The Heartbreak Kid
(I’m talking about
The Elaine May version
Not the remake)
Elaine May
Is a goddamn genius
As an actress
And comedian
And a screenwriter
But to overlook
The films she has made
Is a mistake
Do I love her

Poem No. 1586 (“Jane Campion”)

I’ve only seen
Two of hers:
The Power of the Dog
(Which I loved)
And The Piano
(Which I loved)
So why the fuck
Haven’t I seen
More of her films?
I don’t know
If I ever meet her
I will say
Thank you for making
Two excellent fucking films
And then she might say
“What about the other ones
I made?”
And then I would have to say
I hadn’t seen them
Maybe I should see
The rest of Jane Campion’s films
In case I ever meet her
That would be
The prudent thing to do

Poem No. 1587 (“Allison Anders”)

I’ve only seen
One of her films
Gas Food Lodging
(I loved it)
And I did meet her
And I told her
I loved her film
At that time
She had only made
Two films
And she didn’t ask
Whether I had seen
The other one
(Border Radio)
Which is good
Because I hadn’t
But I probably ought
To see it
I probably
Ought to see
All of Allison Anders films
Because what if
I meet her again
And she’s like
“It’s 30 years later
And you’ve still
Only seen
One of my films?”
And then
What if she
Introduces me
To Jane Campion?
I’ve got a lot of films to watch
I had better get started
Right away

Poem No. 1588 (“Alice Guy-Blaché”)

I learned about
Alice Guy-Blaché
When I watched
The Mark Cousins documentary
The Story of Film
He showed clips
Of Falling Leaves
And explained the plot
Which is heartbreaking
I don’t think any film
Made before that one
Has moved me so much
Alice Guy-Blaché
Started making films
In 1896
(Although that first film
Is lost)
I really ought to see
More of her films
But in her case
I don’t have to worry
About meeting her
As she died
In 1968
I highly recommend
Falling Leaves
And I almost certainly
Will see more of her films
In 1906
She made one called
Les Résultats du féminisme
(The Consequences of Feminism)

I’m half tempted
To watch it right now
I just watched
A minute and a half of it
And I’m going to recommend
That if you are interested
In Alice Guy-Blaché
That you start
With Falling Leaves
Les Résultats du féminisme
Seems anti-feminist
And homophobic
I will watch
More of her films
I would finish that one
(It’s only seven minutes long)
But now I’m attached
To the idea
Of catching the 10:30 screening
Of Don’t Worry Darling

Poem No. 1589 (“Ida Lupino”)

I think I’ve already
Written a poem
about Ida Lupino
This year
In fact I know I have
In addition to her films
She directed
My favorite episode
Of Gilligan’s Island
But let me mention
The Hitch-Hiker
And The Bigamist
She died
In 1995
And I never met her either
She probably
Would have wondered
Why I kept talking
About “The Producer”
Her fourth and final
Gilligan’s Island episode
But it really is brilliant
If you’ve never watched
Gilligan’s Island
“The Producer”
Might give you the impression
That Gilligan’s Island
Is a better show
Than it is
That is what
A great director
Can do

Poem No. 1590 (“So Many Others”)

There are so many others
I could have mentioned:
Sofia Copolla
Agnès Varda
Ava DuVernay
Amy Heckerling
Chloé Zhao
Nicole Holofcener
Lina Wertmüller
I’ve loved
At least one movie
By each of them
And there are many other
Women directors
Whose work I would probably
Enjoy a lot
Kathryn Bigelow
Comes to mind
But what I want to say
Is that there should be
Many, many more
Women filmmakers
There should be
A lot of women filmmakers
Whose movies
I don’t much care for
After all
There are tons of
Male filmmakers
Whose films I
Don’t much care for
It is when
Women filmmakers
Can be mediocre
And successful
That we will know
That we have made
Some real progress
Toward equality

John S. Hall


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2 thoughts on “Olivia Wilde & other poems about women filmmakers

  1. I like to substitute “Olivia Wild” for “Tender and mild” in Silent Night, so I totally get where John is coming from.

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