I’m very excited about Issue Six, our “Coming-Of-Age” issue. Our cover film is the Netflix hit “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (2018), directed by Susan Johnson and based on Jenny Han’s novel of the same name. Laurine Cornuéjols illustrated the cover for this issue, capturing the beauty and imaginative spark and spirit of this film.
I’d like to highlight Jaylan Salah’s personal essay about “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” She references an interview that Jenny Han did on “The Daily Show.” Han said that people couldn’t understand why the lead character had to be Asian because the plot did not mention anything “Asian.” Han said, “And I was like, but her spirit is Asian, so it’s important. It’s not her entire identity, but it’s a part of her identity.”
The more I’m learned about representation from the women I’ve interviewed for Cinema Femme, the more I’ve come to understand how important it is that women of color, queer women, and nonbinary are cast as leading roles in these genre films. Young women are searching for themselves in these coming-of-age films—and films like “Sixteen Candles” (1984) and “Say Anything…” (1989) don’t represent everyone.
And it’s important that these main characters aren’t just one-dimensional, stereotypical characters—but real people, real characters that are layered and complex.
Having diverse representation creates universal connections between people of different genders and races. Doing this will take down the stigmas.
For instance, when I watched the film “Girlhood” (2014), directed by Céline Sciamma, I felt connected to a teenage girl of color from a poor neighborhood in Paris. I couldn’t be further removed from that character in terms of race, gender, and background, but this film, this story, showed me that I could connect deeply with Marieme (Karidja Touré), regardless of our differences. When Marieme struggled to be accepted and loved and felt a deep bond with girls who did accept her, it showed that we are not so different and deal with the same coming-of-age issues. I love this, and this shows that film is a powerful tool that can unify.
Along with Jaylan Salah’s essay, we feature essays about the the following films:
- “Moonlight, written by Marjorie H. Morgan and illustrated by Tavi Veraldi
- “Lady Bird,” written by Caitlin Wolf and illustrated by Gabrielle Riscanevo
- “Bend it Like Beckham,” written by Danielle Acton
- “Call Me By Your Name,” written by Kana Felix.
This issue will be our final issue for personal essays in 2019, but we’ll be continue to publish interviews with women in film on the website. We’ll be back with Issue Seven, featuring personal essays and illustrations, next year. We are very excited for what’s to come for Cinema Femme—thank you for reading and supporting us!
—Rebecca Martin, founder and editor in Chief