The Quiet Magic of Buster Keaton
I felt some trepidation when I first witnessed the magic of a Buster Keaton film. I loved the guy so much I thought my primordial brain would copy all his gestures, gags and facial expressions, and then as if under a spell by a superstitious grandma I’d turn into a Buster Keaton look-alike hired for birthday parties or office celebrations. I intentionally learned about Buster after I made a bunch of silent comedies. And so I avoided the spell. But not really….
I haven’t written her name in a very long time. She liked for people to spell it with a “C” not a “K.” Cathy. Cathy and I became friends in the ’80s. She was on the varsity basketball team and I was on JV. I remember seeing her on the bus going to an away game. She was passing around an orange that she’d spiked with vodka. Wow. Smart, cool lady, I thought. I don’t know why she liked me. Maybe it was my three-point shot. (Back then we only got 2 points.) Maybe it was my style: flannel shirt, tube socks, jeans. I knew I liked her ’cause she was like a big sister. She had a lot of “tomboy” friends. And when she introduced me to them…
As a little girl staring up at the screen, I was starstruck. As a woman watching you, I have been let down. I curse at you in the dark.
I understand we have to wait a while before women make as many movies as men have made. So, as men wake themselves before sunrise to direct yet another film, and as screenwriters position their fingers over the alphabet on their keyboards, I thought I could tell you what women are sick of seeing in the movies…