Savoca, Nancy: Director Profile

The surprise winner of the 1989 Sundance grand jury prize was a low-budget film called True Love, an exuberantly raucous portrait of an Italian-American wedding. Its director, Nancy Savoca, was then unknown to most filmgoers. Co-written by Savoca and her husband, Richard Guay, the film shows a perceptive eye for humorously realistic settings and down-to-earth characterizations. In fact, some viewers didn;t realize they were watching a movie. True Love boasts a semi-documentary quality and an “obscure” cast of thesps who don't look like actors.

Since then, with three pictures to her credit, Savoca has carved a well-defined niche for herself in the indie world. Savoca's movies benefit from a fresh perspective–her heroines are “natural” and unglamorous–drawn from her outsider's status as a woman. “If there's feminism in my films,” Savoca said, “it's a feminism that asks questions and doesn't define. We should be asking questions rather than laying down the rules of what a woman should or shouldn't do. It's all about choice.” Savoca's work has evolved from the light social satire of True Love to melodrama in Dogfight to an unsuccessful attempt at magical realism in Household Saints. Her movies are demanding, but not entirely rewarding–they tend to be dreary and bland. Only True Love found its audience; Dogfight and Household Saints were failures.

True Love

The heroine of True Love is a young bride planning the wedding she had dreamed about her whole life. Savoca portrays the rites and travails and all the minor details that go into orchestrating a wedding extravaganza–the squabbles over tuxedos, food, rings. But more than anything else, she dwells on the gulf between the sexes. A Bronx-native herself, Savoca conveys the sexual segregation of her own childhood: Women in her films convene in the kitchen.

True Love was made as a counterpoint to such Hollywood movies as Moonstruck (1987), a romantic comedy starring Cher and Nicolas Cage as mismatched lovebirds in an Italian-American community. Savoca steered clear of Moonstruck's charming but phony treatment of the material. Her movie is closer to the Italian-American humor in Scorsese's Mean Streets and Jonathan Demme's Married to the Mob, which were also attentive to the characters' flamboyance and color. Never condescending, True Love shows affection for the specifically ethnic neighborhood and a good ear for the local language of both genders. One of Savoca's poignant observations is that the bride and her friends talk the same way as the men, but they are much tougher than them.

Like his friends, Michael seems to do everything chest-first, never finishing a sentence without a certain indispensable, all-purpose modifier. The groom and his buddies cap off the bachelor party by driving to Atlantic City. They drink themselves sick, then mournfully discuss how to arrange the newlyweds' “Mediterranean” furniture suite. For her part, the bride gets advice from her aunts, who wish her well but also instruct her how to order her husband to “take gas”–i.e., stick his head in the oven–just in case.

Donna (Annabella Sciorra) and Michael (Ron Eldard) want to get married, but they don't realize what exactly marriage entails. Michael represents a mix of contradictions; he's a sweet, decent fellow beneath all the bluster. It's hard for Michael to get a grip on marital responsibilities, to realize that he can't go out with his friends after the wedding. Savoca works a strain of pathos into her comedy, showing a nervous, inexperienced couple in danger of being buried beneath–“I just don't wanna end up hating my life,” Michael says.


In her second film, Dogfight (1991), Savoca also explored sexual politics, this time focusing an unnattractive girl–a type rarely seen in mainstream films. Questioning standards of beauty, Dogfight is about an exceedingly cruel set-up (hence the title), based on an old Marine ritual in which each participant contributes money to a pot, and the winner is the man who shows up with the ugliest date. This “dogfight” takes place in San Francisco, the night before a bunch of Marines is shipped out to Vietnam. Capturing the niavete of the early 1960s, the film is a tender examination of the evolving romance between Eddie Birdplace (River Phoenix) and his “date,” Rose Fenney (Lili Taylor). Savoca fleshes out Rose's experience of the events, as she struggles to salvage her dignity. Both Rose and Eddie are seen as victims of societal conceptions of femininity and masculinity.

Savoca plays for laughs the scenes in which Eddie and his pals search for their “dog.” There's a lovely scene early on, in which Rose gets ready for the date, putting on her nicest dress and discreet makeup, while Eddie tries to trick her into smearing lipstick over her face. Savoca also puts her signature as a female director on the sex scene, which is presented with characteristic attention to detail. The scene lingers on such “proasic” issues as when and where you get undressed on your first date, issues that Hollywood movies never bother with.

Savoca orchestrates a radical shift in the audience's perception. Rose begins as an ugly, gullible, duped woman facing heartbreaking cruelty, but by the end of the film, she's perceived as beautiful, but not in the fake manner of the Australian Cinderella tale, Muriel's Wedding, in which a fat girl (Tony Collette) transforms into a winning beauty. In Dogfight, it is Rose's gracious personality which emerges triumphant.

Despite good elements, Savoca misdirects the film with the kind of pathos that encourages viewers to feel sorry for its characters, first for Rose, then for Eddie. The performances of both Lili Taylor and River Phoenix were exceptional, but the movie would have worked better if it were cast with a truely unattractive woman; Taylor is too appealing for the part. Savoca overidealizes Rose, making her a spiritual woman with pacifist philosophy and liberal politics. In forgiving Eddie, Rose relieves him of the last traces of his Marine machoism and misdirected rage.

Though released by Warners, Dogfight was basically an independent film , met with unfavorable reviews and even poorer commercial prospects. The same fate would befall Savoca's next feature, Household Saints, her most ambitious film to date, a tragi-comic exploration of three generations of Italian-American women as they struggle with the conflicting demands of the Catholic Church on their sexuality and spirituality.

Household Saints

Based on three intertwined tales, the film begins with grandmother Carmella (Judith Maline), a jealous, superstitious woman praying for vengence on her daughter-in-law Catherine (Tracy Ullman). Perfectly average, Catherine was won as a bride by Carmella's son Joseph (Vincent D'Onofrio) in a pinochle game. Raised Catholic, their teenage daughter, Teresa (Lili Taylor), begins to experience fervent visions, which are interpreted as psychotic experiences. Is Teresa mad, or a saint in delirious pursuit of a union with Christ “We've gotten to a point in our society,” said Savoca, “where things that have to do with God and spirituality are taboo, and we treat spiritual matters very much like mental illness.”

Attracted to the magic realism of Francine Rose's book, Savoca frames her movie as a folkloristic tale. “When you hear family tales, you don't question whether it happened or not,” Savoca said. “You accept it as a certain kind of reality that's different.” In all of her films, Savoca looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary, like the Jesus miracle in Household Saints. Author Rose told Savoca that Jesus should be “the Vanilla Ice of Jesuses,” because Teresa is a teenage girl in love. Hence, Savoca wanted “someone who would make your heart stop if you were fourteen,” casting pop star Sebastien Roche as Jesus.

Savoca's singular perspecitive is defined by her womanhood; unlike Kathryn Bigelow, her movies could not be mistaken as male directed. The scene in Household Saints, in which Catherine loses her virginity and then hears the angels singing recalls a similar sequence in Dogfight. Loss of virginity is a rare sight in films and when it's portrayed, as in Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty, it's an epiphany that rarely approximates the awkward and painful experience it is for most women.

The exploration of the Italian-American heritage is also from a distinctly female perspective, complementing the films of Coppola, Scorsese, and other Italian-American directors which have ignored women or allotted them peripheral roles. Savoca observed: “As much as it's frustrating for me to watch Italian-American movies made by men, in which there are no women of consequence, there's a very segregated social situation with working-class Italian-Americans. What I love about Scorsese's movies, GoodFellas, Mean Streets, is that I see where those guys go when they leave. When the door closes behind them, it's a Scorsese movie, but when the door closes and we're still in the kitchen, then it's mine.”

Coming of age in the l970s, an era of anti-heroes in American film, Savoca developed an interest in flawed characters like those played by Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence, or Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. Savoca's philosophy is rather simple–she wants to see onscreen women like herself, women she can recognize. Refusing to romanticize women, she is intrigued by the opportunity to explore real characters–to idealize women is akin to “cheating.” Stylistically unassuming but substantial, Savoca's work contrasts with the overhyped work of Allison Anders.

If you want to know more about this issue, please read my book, Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film(NYU Press, hardcover 200; paperback 2001).

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88