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Kimberly Peirce’s 1999 debut “Boys Don’t Cry,” the grim story of a trans man raped and murdered in Texas, scored Hillary Swank an Oscar and announced Peirce as a major filmmaking talent. It also established expectations she still resists, almost 20 years later.
“A lot of people think I’m Mr. Tragedy because of ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’” the 50-year-old director said in a phone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “But I have been wanting to move into comedy for a bit. Let’s be honest. A lot of comedy doesn’t that have much sophistication. It’s funny, but there’s a level of predictability and normativity.”
Comedy - Way - Season - Netflix - Dear
So she’s moving into comedy, but in her own way, most recently by directing episode 4 from season 2 of Netflix’s “Dear White People.” The riveting, unpredictable story of a young black woman wrestling with whether she should have an abortion, it’s also one of the series’ very best.
It’s not obvious comedic terrain, and as such, called for a non-obvious director. While Netflix’s Emmys campaign for “Dear White People” lacks serious momentum, the network submitted Peirce for her work on the episode, and a peek behind the scenes illustrates how much she guided the material into daring new terrain.
Justin - Simien - Adaptation - Feature - Matter
Justin Simien’s adaptation of his 2014 feature has been riotous and innovative in its subject matter and tone as it explores the racial divides of the fictional Winchester University. The second season is rich with conflicts and personal hardships, several of which revolve around iconoclastic radio host Samantha White (Logan Browning). However, the fourth episode is a self-contained look at a complex figure grappling with her past and present: Colandrea “Coco” Conners (Anoinette Robertson), the ambitious treasurer for the school’s Coalition of Racial Inequality student union, who accrues much of her popularity on campus from the white people drawn into...
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